The headstone/gravestone marks the place where a grave or tomb is placed. They are traditionally used by most religious people and they became part of the funerary tradition and business. The gravestone is the way a family honors the deceased by putting this eternal memorial on“the last place to rest”. This is a tradition that I think we should keep alive.
Just think about it, from here to a hundred years, future generations will probably find our destroyed coffins, our bodies… bones and wonder if we were male or female?, who we were?, when did we died? and more. Part of the objective of the gravestones is not only for ID purposes (so the family can visit the body without forgetting the place) but because the human being has a fear to be forgotten. For most of us, documentation and a gravestone will be the only proof for the next generation that we existed once upon a time.
Most of the world’s population won’t enjoy a massive popularity, not even in their hometown but we will have a family that will remember and have us present in every important milestone in their life but if we are truly lucky, there will be someone who will want to know more about us even after we are gone.
When people started to make headstone, they started out by making them from simple materials and simple designs with symbolisms. From pieces of stone to carved wood, we manage to level up this important cemetery piece. In the old, old days when body snatching was fashionable; families even built cages on top of the graves.
Headstones nowadays are made from different materials: Fieldstones, Granite, Marble and Slate. In the beginning all tombs had a stone lid, if the coffin was completely made of stone or not, this stone lid was placed over the grave. Stones were used to mark where a body was buried; they were placed around the grave and just marked with a name or initials (that's sad).
One important element on a headstone is the identification of the deceased person, the day of birth and death, a prayer or specials words by the family, a photo and finally a place to put flowers. Most people decides to put a little fence or something to surround the grave this way other cemetery visitors won’t step on a person’s last resting place.
Having a gravestone was and still is a symbol of wealth, the bigger the better. Some people used to buy expensive material and used designs that become traditional but were very symbolic, like skulls, birds, angels, flowers, praying hands, crosses, etc. The headstone evolved into pieces of art. Big or small, the sculptures that some graves have are beautiful and incredible. If you take a walk on a graveyard you will see sculptures of angels, Saints, hands, books, beds, Greek columns and more.
Sadly, there are more and more people going for cremation “Today, nearly all of the deceased receive some sort of burial or cremation even if it is paid for by the state. The cost of land and the current overcrowding in cemeteries, along with changes in perception, have made people consider cremation. Cremations are less expensive than the cost of caskets and plots.” -247wallst .I say sadly because XXI century people are opposite to the way The Victorians were during the 1800’s (Click to read more) ; people now hate death, they don’t want to talk about it, it’s scary and a morbid issue that shouldn’t be a topic of conversation…at all! So with that mindset, the sooner a body goes underground and if people don’t have to deal with a corpse THE BETTER! Cremation means that families won’t have to set a foot on a graveyard and that means that there will be one less proof of a person existing or worst; the neglect of cemeteries. Let’s face it, yes…we will have photos, facebook profiles and documents but none of them will truly express the love of a mourning family for the decease the way a headstone does. It will have a direct effect on people's way to see death; probably it will make people colder. Where our feelings will go if we cannot mourn in a place made for that?