Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chapter Three: How to Select a Headstone

Chapter Three of the Rules of Widowhood would be “How to Select a Headstone.”  On the day I went seeking headstones, I threw Michael in the van and took off for Manassas to a place where they sold them. On the way, I called Steve at the office and said, “Okay, Stephen, how does one pick a headstone and what do you write on it.”  “Cha-ching!” he responded laughing his head off.  “Be serious, Steve!” I yelled.  “Why are you doing this now?” he asked.  “Because I have to get it done,” I told him. He said, “Why?” “Because you crazy Roszel people will badmouth me if I don’t get a headstone for his grave. I remember walking around that dumb cemetery.  I remember those people badmouthing the families of those that didn’t have a headstone.” I explained.  I think you should write, “Cha-ching!  Rick would have loved that,” he said.  “You have been no help.  I’m here so wish me luck.”  I said as I hung up.

Michael and I got out of the van.  He brought his Gameboy and we started walking around.  Elvis’s face, deer heads, Redskin emblems, praying hands, angels were all popular themes.  I couldn’t think of anything that would represent Rick for eternity.

I went into the office.  A pleasant gentleman with a kind looking face asked if he could help me.  I told him I was looking for a headstone for my husband who had died recently.  He explained that in general headstones were not set until at least six months after burial because the ground needed time for settling.  Who knew?  He then told me that I could order one and it would take ten weeks or more to be finished which would allow enough time.

He offered me several brochures and gave me the low down on pricing for stone and for cutting designs, lettering etc.  He encouraged me to walk around to get an idea of what I might want.  Mike and I went back outside and had another look.  There were wide, tall, light, dark, shiny and dull stones.  They had flower pots, photos of the deceased, crosses, medallions and eagles attached.  All I could think was yuck!  I didn’t like any of them.  I put Michael back in his car seat and started on my way home with my brochures on the seat.  It was time to think on it all.

I called Steve back and told him how depressing it was.  He encouraged me to wait.  I am not good at waiting.  If there’s a rotten job to do, I would rather get through it than have it hanging over my head.

That week I received in the mail a brochure for more headstones from a place in Emmitsburg, MD and on the back was a headstone with Celtic scrolling around the edge.  When I saw it I knew that was what I wanted.  “Forever In Our Hearts” would be written along with his name.  I called up the gentleman from the place in Manassas and told him what I wanted.  He told me to send him to the picture and he would design it and send me a proposal with a contract.  It was a done deal.


  1. Wow! The names are different, but the story seems to an email from a long-time friend with the same headstone news. Is this a small world or what (a big cemetery, lol.)

  2. What a difficult job! How do you sum the love of a loved one on cold hard stone? You did good, Janie girl!