When you choose natural burial, opt for cremation instead of burial, do not have a body to grieve, or simply do not want the heavy look of a traditional headstone, you may want to consider gravestone alternatives. Although most people today choose a small, rectangular headstone that makes a cemetery look neat and tidy, it used to be common for headstones of all shapes, sizes, and varieties to crop up. Choosing something unique and personalized can be a great way to not only celebrate your loved one, but to stand out in a way that means a lot to the those who share your grief.
That is because a headstone is not just a grave marker—it is a place to remember and mourn your loved one. It is a celebration of life. It is a reminder that although your friend or relative is gone, they are never forgotten.
For these reasons, it is possible to use just about anything to set up a memorial or mark a natural grave. Here are a few of the more common headstone alternatives.
- Sundial: Sundials are perfect for somebody who loved astronomy, gardens, or the great outdoors. Appropriately, a sundial also reflects the passage of time and the cycle of life. They can be custom ordered and engraved, as well, which makes them ideal when you also want to incorporate a more traditional grave marking.
- Birdbath: Like a sundial, a birdbath is a symbol of life, nature, peace, and beauty. It has the added function of providing a place for wildlife to gather and gain sustenance. Like the sundial, it can be engraved for an even more personal touch.
- Bench: Memorial benches are fairly common in parks and cemeteries, and can also be placed in your backyard or at gravesite. These almost always include a plaque that tells guests who to thank for their rest.
- Pebble Arrangement: If money is a factor, you can very easily arrange small stones at a gravesite. These can be collected on your favorite walks or purchased based on their shape, size, and aesthetic. Small sayings engraved on the rocks can help personalize this memorial without going overboard, and you can even invite people to take and leave them as they need.
- Large Stones: A large, rustic rock can work just as well as an elegant headstone. Moving one to a gravesite might be difficult, but you can choose any rock on your property to become a personal marker of sorts.
- Wooden Cross: Wooden crosses have long had a place in history as a way to mark a grave. Although the cross will not stand up to the test of time, they will provide a link to your loved one for years to come.
- Tree/Bush/Flowers: If you want something completely natural, consider planting a tree, bush, or flowers at the gravesite. This is ideal when you want a peaceful retreat that will last long after you and your loved ones are gone.
No matter what you decide, remember that you are bound by the rules and regulations at the cemetery where your loved one is buried. If they do not allow any non-traditional headstones, consider setting up your own memorial somewhere you can visit whenever you need.