EPITAPH – In Loving Memory
By choosing a thoughtful, loving, appropriate epitaph, you ensure your loved one will be long remembered, even with just a few words. The most important thing to bear in mind is that the inscription will be there for hundreds of years. Do not be hurried into choosing an epitaph straight away
The tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.”
Alexander the Great
Epitaph is an inscription written on a grave. When somebody from our family and friend dies, we want to commemorate his/her memories. For this, we use epitaph, which is a brief writing or saying, a concise commemorative inscription engraved on the tombstone of a dead person. Generally, it is a brief composition, in a verse or in prose form, written to pay tribute to a deceased person, or to remember a past event.
Some epitaphs are fairly famous because of their clever wit, some are tragic, some humorous, some devout, and some sublime, but they are all uniquely human in sentiment. Many of them use spelling, capitalization, anagrams and puns for artistic effect. Most epitaphs are written in first person, reflecting the emotional voice of the friend, family or colleague who has written it.
The use of epitaph flourished during seventeenth century when writers struggled over the cultural significance of their dead ones. However, later in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many ways were adopted to validate its importance and, therefore, renowned writers wrote their epitaphs before their death. In the late 1990s, a unique epitaph was flown to the moon along with the ashes of geologist and planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker. The Lunar Prospector spacecraft, along with the ashes and epitaph, crashed on command into the south polar region of the moon on July 31, 1999.
The major function of writing epitaph is to praise and pay tribute to deceased persons. It is used to provide an example of virtue and goodness how a tomb of the good people could serve to provide a sense of their presence. In addition, a veneration of a dead person’s memories could produce similar effects, as we would see in his/her presence. Another approach of many epitaphs is to ‘speak’ to the reader and warn them about their own mortality.
When choosing the few words to honor a loved one, it is essential to find the words or phrase that best represent the deceased and honor their memory. A simple epitaph can be a powerful choice or several short epitaphs can be combined to be even more meaningful. Showing an emotional connection on an epitaph is a great way to honor a loved one long after their death, ensuring that those emotions never fade. Humorous epitaphs can be a good option when the deceased would have loved the joke. It is also easy to combine an image epitaph with a few words to give even greater meaning to a simple headstone.
By choosing a thoughtful, loving, appropriate epitaph, you ensure your loved one will be long remembered, even with just a few words. The most important thing to bear in mind is that the inscription will be there for hundreds of years. Do not be hurried into choosing an epitaph straight away.
OK….I gotta go now.” Dee Dee Ramone
About the Author
Rukhsana Saifee is Associate Professor of English at the Chartered Institute of Technology, Abu Road