For many families, a loved one's grave site becomes a place where everyone gathers periodically to remember their lost family member and where others visit privately to maintain their connection with the person. If you've recently lost someone, you might be looking for some ways to make his or her grave a truly personalized memorial. Here are a few things you can consider to honor his or her memory and make it personal.
Choose a Grave Marker With a Wide, Flat Surface
By opting for a grave marker that has a wide, flat top, you'll provide space for the placement of small stones. Placing stones on grave markers is a tradition from the time of desert burials. While it was only practiced by Jewish families at one time, it has become a mainstream tribute practiced by folks of all sorts of backgrounds now. The stones are left as a show of respect for the lost individual and as a way to indicate that you had visited. You might even want to purchase a collection of decorative or polished stones to use for this if you install a headstone that will support them.
Add Color And Protection With a Grave Blanket
Grave blankets are made from evergreens, climbing vines or various flowers and used to cover the entire grave site. The blanket starts with a thin piece of foam large enough to cover the entire grave. Flowers and branches of evergreens are then inserted into the foam. As an alternative, you can have climbing vines growing on a small section of light fence, then lay that section of fence over the grave. With a grave blanket that's made by hand, everyone can add their own flowers and personal touches as a way of paying tribute.
Respect Your Family's Heritage By Adding a Personal Flag
Most people think only of flags being placed on grave sites during the holidays that are designed for remembering the deceased and the veterans. The truth is, you can have a flag stand driven into the ground at your loved one's grave site at any time and you can use it for any kind of flag. If your loved one was passionate about an aspect of your family heritage, have a custom flag created to represent that and put it in the holder to honor his or her memory.
Install Solar Lighting To Brighten Up The Grave Marker
If you want to make sure that your loved one's grave marker is illuminated at all times, solar lights are a great way to do this. Many varieties of solar lights attach to grave markers or are driven into the ground around the stone. You can usually adjust them, too. That allows you to direct the light where you want it most. Small solar lights will simply illuminate the grave marker, while larger spotlights may light up the whole grave area. All you'll have to do to keep them working well is to wipe them off periodically when you visit.
Protect Mementos With Display Cases
Adding a few protective display cases around the grave marker will allow you to put mementos and other items at the grave site as a tribute to your loved one. Whether you're leaving a favorite personal item or a gift to the deceased, putting the item in a display case protects it from the elements. For a specific item you want to represent your loved one indefinitely, you can even have a grave marker created with a case built in. These are popular for families with a deceased child, because they can put a favorite stuffed animal or toy in the case.
Create Long-Lasting Memories With a Memorial Bench
Many cemeteries offer various spaces throughout the grounds where a memorial bench can be installed as a way to foster long-term memories. Memorial benches are great options for loved ones who are cremated, because they usually include an area where ashes can be placed. Most memorial benches also include a plaque or other decorative feature to tell people who the bench is intended to memorialize.
Although each of these are viable options, they may not all be permissible in every cemetery. Make sure you check with the groundskeeper before you implement any of these ideas for your loved one's grave.
For more information and ideas, it is also a good idea to contact companies that supply and make grave markers or visit websites like http://www.elmwoodcaskets.com.