Choosing a memorial can be challenging, but planning in advance can give you peace of mind and ease the burden on your loved ones when you pass away. There are many things to consider when you begin thinking about your memorial — such as the location, how much you want to spend, and the legacy you’d like to leave. Below we’ve listed seven memorial questions to help you begin the planning process.
1. What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
Your memorial will remain on the planet after you’ve long departed. It’s a lasting marker of who you were as a person, and as such, it should reflect your personal values and the things you care about. You may find this in a traditional burial with a gravestone — inscribed with a favorite quote or image. Or maybe with cremation, which offers a variety of unique options like being scattered in a significant place or having ashes turned into an heirloom piece of jewelry.
2. What do you want your memorial to say?
Depending on if you choose a piece of cremation jewelry, a headstone, or another memorial — you often have the option to customize it with meaningful text. Many people choose a favorite quote, inside joke, or a sentiment that expresses how they lived their life. Whatever you choose, it should be something that will remind people of you and evoke fond memories when they visit.
3. Will this be a personal or family memorial?
There are many memorial options that can work for the whole family, like a family grave plot or a memorial tree. Being reunited in the afterlife provides a great source of comfort for many families, while others may prefer their own memorial. If a family memorial is something you’re interested in, begin discussing end-of-life plans with your family now.
4. Do you want friends and family to visit your memorial?
For many people having friends and family visit their memorial is an important part of their decision. A central memorial place provides a place for loved ones to gather and grieve — but an urn in the home remains close at all times. Scattering ashes on the other hand can provide a symbolic ceremony but doesn’t offer a place for loved ones to return for years to come. No option is right or wrong, only yours to choose.
5. Where do you want your memorial located?
If you choose to have a memorial in a central place, you’ll want to decide where it’s located. It may be important to you to have a memorial in your hometown by family or the place you spent your adult life. Depending on who you want to visit your memorial will help you determine where it’s located. If you opt for cremation, ashes can be placed in multiple areas for loved ones from all seasons of your life to celebrate you in their own way.
6. What’s your budget for a memorial?
Cemeteries, urns, and even spreading ashes in nature all come with a price tag. When you decide your preferred memorial option, ask the price and any associated costs that might not be included in the initial package. This may help you decide what option is best. You can purchase your memorial in advance or set aside money in your will for your family to use after you’re gone.
7. Who will arrange your memorial?
Even if you plan ahead, someone will need to make sure arrangements are fulfilled once you’ve passed away. You can outline the person that you would like to fulfill your wishes in a letter of instruction or your will. Make sure your outline all of the most important information so nothing is missed when you’re not there to help.
Support in choosing a memorial
Choosing the right memorial for when you pass away can be difficult. However, talking to your family and doing research on the different options available will help. Ultimately, you should prioritize what feels right for you so you can honor your life and help your loved ones find peace and solace.