Remembering your life

December 29, 2015

It began as a hike, a way to get some exercise, in a small, hilly city nearby. We had every intention of really pumping up the intensity of our walk,  but then, we came across a beautiful little cemetery and were captivated by the many lives creatively memorialized in granite.

The Catholic cemeteries I’m used to are pretty generic: names, dates, angels and maybe a religious tract excerpt. But many of these headstones? They said a little something about what was important to the deceased and drew me in to stop for a moment and think about this person I never knew.

And, they made me think about how I’d like to be remembered. What tidbit or graphic would tidily sum up my life?

I was touched by this:

Gails forever love
“Gail’s forever love.”  Obviously, Richard knew how he wanted to be remembered. It looks like he’s not gone yet. And then, was this his Gail?
soulmateI think she was.  Don’t you wish you knew more about this couple?  How they met… and what their lives were like…did their love inspire those around them?

Music played a bigger role in headstone inscriptions than I’d imagined.


We know what was important to him. I can practically see his passion from that ceramic photo. I wonder: did he write that music? Does it mean anything specific? It must, but we’ll never know.

Dutch song
And what about this Dutch farewell song? I wanted to know more and found the music on YouTube here.  Imagine having all this inscribed on a headstone.

Gods choir

She obviously sang in a choir. So I wonder: where? was she a soprano or alto? what did she love to sing? What filled her life? And what on earth does Zswama mean?

rigolettoI want to know more, such as, what did this piece from Rigoletto mean to this person? I’ll bet Verdi never expected his music to be used this way.

gone camping
He died so young…he must have loved his RV a whole lot. The headstone gives a little snapshot of what their lives must have been like.  I’ll be they were “salt of the earth” people.
gone huntingGary loved his hunting enough that his family did this for him.

(I wonder what the ducks would have on THEIR stones?)
No question what was important to this man:military history
Amazing they got it all in. But I know who he was, that’s for sure.  A man I’d like to sit down and talk with.
hole in 1 If I’d gotten two holes in one, I’d put it on my stone, too!

When I saw this, I immediately thought of my husband, whose infectious smile lights up a room:

u smile angels sing
What I loved about these headstones was that I, a complete stranger to every one of these people, learned a little bit about their lives and their passions. Of course, the stones are really for the families. But, did they ever think, I wonder, that someone like me might pause a moment at their gravesite to think about who they might have been?

So, do you know how you’d like to be remembered? And what inscription you would like?

13 comments on “Remembering your life
  1. Rosie says:

    Hi Carol,

    Great Post. “you smile and the angels sing” is a line from a song by Benny Goodman – “And The Angels Sing”. A song my mom loved.

  2. What creative inscriptions. When my husband put a headstone on my grandmother’s grave as a surprise for me. She died at 23 (you may or may not remember that story). At the bottom he put, “You are no longer forgotten”. It made me cry.

  3. It maybe weird, I know, but the older I get the more I don’t care how I’m remembered. I care about what my family thinks of me now.

  4. Barbara says:

    My husband and I plan to be cremated and the ashes left in the church yard. There are a few engraved benches there, in someone’s honor, but nothing too personal. That’s fine with me but, these stones really do make you think.

  5. andi says:

    wow – all i know is too many people want to be remembered for material things

  6. Tamuria says:

    I love the inscriptions on these headstones. Walking in cemeteries does the same for me – opens up a lot of questions about the people they honour. Mostly I’d like to be remembered by my sons and grandkids for being kind and fun. I don’t much care about how others remember me. This is a lovely, thoughtful post.

  7. I just finished reading “Being Mortal” and this fits with the pensiveness I’ve been marinating in. Am I living my life according to my values?

    Thanks for sharing these lives.

  8. Elizabeth O. says:

    Those are really beautiful. I would like to be remembered for the things that I love as well.

  9. Liz Mays says:

    I think reading inscriptions on headstones is so interesting. I do like you do, and start to wonder about the stories of the people who rest there.

  10. I love the inscriptions on headstones… These are so beautiful!!

  11. Tara says:

    These are quite thought provoking and touching. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Jonathan says:

    I want to be remembered as a loving father and husband. A true friend and one who gave back to others. Best wishes in 2016 and happy new year!

  13. Lisa Rios says:

    I am just loving it, such beautiful inscriptions that is creative enough as well the best we can dedicate to our loved ones in their remembrance. The Dutch farewell song & Two holes in one are the best among all of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.