Category: Choosing the Right Words for A Headstone

UK’s biggest headstone could be torn down

Britain’s “biggest headstone ” which features two life-sized models of the deceased and a solar-powered jukebox could be torn down after it emerged it breached planning rules.

Bare-knuckle boxer “Big” Willy Collins, dubbed the “King of Sheffield ” by the travelling community he came from, was aged just 49 when he died during a family holiday to Majorca in July 2020.

The huge grave stone – which is said to be made of 37 tonnes of fine Italian marble – has been branded an “eyesore” and “monstrosity” by some visitors to the cemetery in Sheffield who’ve taken issue with its extravagance.

Initially, the council said that the massive mausoleum, weighing 37-tonnes, had been constructed “without permission”.

But today, they released a new statement clarifying that while the Collins family did obtain permission for a headstone, it had failed to match the designs they had submitted.

The local authority rules that memorials must be under three inches thick and no taller than 4.4ft.

Cemeteries are a place where people can come, pay their respects and visit loved ones who are no longer with us. We understand memorials are deeply personal, however we must have rules in place to ensure fairness.

A spokesperson for the council in a new statement said: “Sheffield City Council approved plans for a memorial; however, the plans which were submitted and approved differ from the memorial now in place.

“This was not fully appreciated until after the structure was fully unveiled.

“We have reached out to the family and intend to discuss changes which need to be made in order to satisfy the cemetery rules and take into consideration other cemetery users.

The stone features imposing biblical carvings, a working jukebox playing Willy’s favourite tunes, and 24-hour surveillance which acts as a walkie-talkie for his family to converse with him whenever they need.

However, many other visitors have branded the stone an “eyesore” and a “monstrosity”.

How to decide whether to cremate or bury?

Direct cremation, in particular, is considered less costly since it lowers costs by saving on terrestrial space.

It is a very personal decision made by the individual or family members. In addition to taking into consideration the wishes, feelings and beliefs of the deceased loved one, there is also the fear in some people of being decomposed or buried alive.

Religious and cultural beliefs also play an important role in this decision. With the exception of Orthodox Judaism, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Islam, most religions accept the process of cremation.

In fact, this system has been practiced in Hinduism since time immemorial, believing that not only cremation serves as a means to get rid of the body but also helps the deceased soul on his journey to the next world. The burial ground, on the other hand, symbolizes the burial and resurrection of Christ.

Cremation is also being promoted for social, technological and philosophical reasons. There are concerns about public hygiene due to corpses buried near the surface of the earth.

In addition, technological advancement has led to the creation of modern cremation kits that can help reduce the body to its basic elements. However, there are environmental concerns associated with the emission of gases released during cremations.

Cremation or burial

Cremation reduces the body to cremated remains in a matter of hours, while traditional burial follows a slow and natural decomposition process.

Direct cremations are more cost effective than direct burials, as they do not require embalming. In addition, you have the option of keeping the body in an alternative container instead of a coffin.

Cremation is a simpler process that also helps save floor space, unlike in the case of a burial. However, both are considered safe ways of dealing with the corpse.

As people today live far from their family roots, cremation provides more flexibility in terms of commemoration compared to the method of burying in a graveyard.

The cremated remains can be stored in a cremation urn and displayed on a shelf or mantle at home, scattered in the ground, scattered from the air from an airplane, floating in water, placed in a columbarium, buried in a cemetery or buried in a crypt inside a mausoleum. You can carry with you the cremated remains of the deceased if you move to another city, which is not possible in case of burial.

However, since cremation is an irreversible process, it is essential to decide and be clear if cremation or burial is preferred.

In addition, it must be taken into account that cremation is not a substitute for the funeral since the final disposal of the remains is also required.

Other alternatives are to perform a funeral before cremation or a memorial service later. By choosing cremation, the ashes of the loved one can then be scattered, buried or buried.

Dealing with grief over the festive period

If you’ve lost a loved one, the festive season can feel like it’s lost its joy and meaning, becoming a particularly difficult time of year that is fraught with memories.

Christmas is meant to be a wonderful time of year, but if you’re coping with grief you may be feeling far from festive.

Whilst coping with a recent bereavement can be particularly difficult, even those that lost a loved one many years ago can find that their grief intensifies during the festive season.

Memories of past Christmases with those that have passed away can be very painful and leave you feeling little reason to celebrate.

We’ve put together a few ideas and advice about how to cope with grief over the festive season.

Only do as much as you’re comfortable with

Don’t feel pressured to do all the same things that you have in the past, or to attend big Christmas celebrations if you really don’t want to. Equally, if you still want to celebrate Christmas, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for doing so.

Create traditions to remember your loved one at Christmas

Creating new Christmas traditions that pay tribute to the person that has passed can be a wonderful way of still including them in the holiday season. Here are a few ideas for new traditions to remember those that have passed at Christmas:

  • Visit their grave and lay down flowers on a set day during the festive season each year.
  • Make it a tradition to visit a place that was special to you both during the Christmas period.
  • Light a candle in their memory during your Christmas dinner.
  • Visit a place of worship and light a candle in their memory.
  • Share favourite stories about the person with your loved ones.

Plan ahead

It can take some of the stress out of the festive season to discuss Christmas plans with friends and family in plenty of time of the big day.

Be kind to yourself

Listen to and accept your grief as it comes, if you need to cry, allow yourself the time to cry. Don’t beat yourself up over not being in the festive spirit.

Whatever your plans for Christmas day, make sure you leave time to treat yourself, whether that’s with your favourite festive film, a packet of indulgent biscuits, or a brisk walk on Christmas morning.

Tips for making gravestone flowers last longer

Flowers are popularly laid on graves as a tribute to the deceased, to express a sentiment, or simply to add colour and beauty.

Whilst wreaths and bouquets arranged by a florist are treated to keep them looking fresher for longer, in most cases, they still only last a maximum of 7 to 10 days.

Use the tips and ideas in this blog to ensure that your floral tribute lasts longer.

Choose hardy, long-lasting flowers– Flowers that are currently in-season and sourced locally will last longer than those that have been imported from another country. Chrysanthemums and carnations are both known for being hardy and long-lasting, even in outdoor conditions.

Put them in floral foam or a vase– If you simply lay a bouquet over the grave then the flowers will not last long at all without any water. Instead, put the cut flowers in well-soaked floral foam, or a cemetery-approved vase with water to keep them looking beautiful for as long as possible.

Choose a potted plant– Whilst bouquets of cut flowers provide a large array of brightly coloured blooms, they last for a relatively short amount of time when compared with a potted plant. A potted plant may create less of an impact, but if you choose carefully, it could last for a very long time.

Plant flowers on the grave– Some cemeteries may allow you to plant flower or bulbs on or around your loved one’s grave. This can be a wonderful way of adding life and colour to their grave, but depending on the plant you choose, may require some maintenance to keep it looking good. Always check with the cemetery first as you may need permission and there are usually strict guidelines as to what can be planted.

Artificial flowers– High quality silk flowers can look stunning, will add colour and beauty to a loved one’s memorial for a very long time and require very little maintenance.

Different cemeteries have different rules and regulations surrounding floral arrangements, so always check first before you make your purchase to avoid upset and disappointment.

Why Are So Many Celebrities Dying Lately?

When you get to a certain age, you realise just how short life can be particularly when you see many of the celebrities you grew up with passing away. Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael and David Bowie are just a few of the notable famous people who are no longer with us. So, are more famous people dying now that ever or is it just down to a particular generation reaching an age where the risk of death is higher?

The answer to this is likely to be complex but we can identify certain inescapable truths. Many of the celebrities that have passed away in recent years were at the height of their fame in the 1980s. Their generation will have been in their 20s or early 30s at this time and this was the decade when TV, video and the music industry really began to develop into a multi-billion-dollar industry.

TV also saw a big expansion with new channels added such as MTV. This was the decade of the global megastar and there were more celebrities than ever.

As we reach the end of the second decade of the 21st century, many of these celebrities will be in their mid to late 60s and some will be in their 70s. According to one scale the annual risk of dying increases from 1 in 1000 between the ages of 45-64 to 1 in 100 between the ages of 65 and 84.

This to some extent explains why we are now losing so many celebrity icons of the 80s.

Advice on Choosing the Right Words for A Headstone

Along with grief death places a huge burden of responsibility on those left behind who have to deal with all the emotions and funeral arrangements. Choosing words for a headstone may be the last thing on the mind when death is recent. How can you sum up the life of a loved one in just a few lines?

While professional writers and poets may be able to put their feelings into words easily, for most people it will be a challenge. This often means resorting to standard phrases such as ‘rest in peace’ or ‘forever in our hearts’.

While you will find these inscriptions on many grave stones but you may be left with the feeling that you could have said more to sum up the person’s existence and what they meant to you and others in life.

For famous people who have achieved much in life, this process is easy. You can simply sum up their great achievements and their legacy. For most ordinary people their greatest achievement will be the family they helped to raise or a long and successful career.

To raise the inscription beyond the ordinary, however, you can do what no-one else can do and sum up what that person meant to you, perhaps reflect back on a good memory which sums up the kind of person they were.

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