There's something special when a gravestone gives an inkling about the person's life, a line to two to sum up the years. Perhaps the engraved words create a sort of bridge between the living and the dead.
Before I ordered Barry's monument, I walked up and down the paths between the stones, reading the names and dates and searching for inscriptions that said a little something about their untold stories. I didn't find many. Only a few had verses. One had a word puzzle. Many displayed hearts and crosses.
How do you summarize a life? What's left after you boil it all down to one or two lines to etch into a piece of granite? How does a family sort it all out and decide just the right words?
This is the epitaph our family decided to have engraved under Barry's name:
Loved God and Others
He also loved God, "the Creator and Sustainer of the universe." And growing out of that relationship, he took time for others. Time to listen, encourage, help, offer sound counsel, give of his resources, and nurture their gifts and passions.
I think he had it right, don't you?
It's a bit sobering to see my name beside Barry's, already indelibly etched into the stone. I wonder what will be engraved beneath it someday. On my walk home, eyes still moist, I remind myself that ending well starts with the present.
So . . . what epitaph would you like to have on your headstone someday?