Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tips for Writing an Epitaph



When it comes to writing the epitaph, the challenge posed can be an emotional one. However, it can also be an opportunity to give the world a small window into the importance of the life lost. The process can actually aide in the grieving process, however bittersweet the experience may be. Below are some tips on how to write an epitaph.

  1.  Keep it Short and Sweet
  2.  Think of What the Deceased Would Write for Themselves
  3.  Describe What Makes up their Essence
  4.  Decide on Who is Speaking
  5.  Convey a Strong Feeling


Keep it Short and Sweet:
Many epitaphs are one to two lines in length. Some feel limited by the space restrictions, but for others it can be beneficial. The best way to look at it is quality over quantity. Keeping your epitaph concise keeps the significant and meaningful words to speak volumes instead of extra words “fluffing” the headstone.

Think of What the Deceased Would Write for Themselves:
Throughout this process, have you thought about what you would write for your personal epitaph? Try to put yourself in the shoes of the deceased. What would they write about themselves? What aspects of their life would they have wanted highlighted and displayed for the world for years to come?

Describe What Makes up their Essence:
Many use the relationships of the deceased such as, “Daughter, Mother, and Friend.” Perhaps their occupation is the best descriptor (or a combination), “Brother and Soldier.” It may be helpful to describe key aspects of their personality. For example, “A kindred spirit that loved you before she knew you.” Think of what makes them…them. Was it the way they interacted or served others? Was it a specific quote they lived by? Was it their dedication to a cause? What made them tick?

Decide on Who is Speaking:
An epitaph can be written from the viewpoint of the deceased or it can be written from an unknown third party. “Bob was strong until the bitter end” vs. “My loved ones will always be loved by me.”

Convey a Strong Feeling:
An epitaph can take on a melancholic tone or it can be celebratory! The message can be tragic or it can emphasize the love surrounding their life. Deciding on the feeling you want to elicit behind the epitaph will help guide you in your message.


An epitaph is a hard task that brings many memories to the surface. Some memories fill your soul with light, while others may bring a shadow to your heart. Writing an epitaph is process, and we hope these tips are helpful to this process.

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