Epitaphs & Meaningful Tombstone Quotes

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Granite Monument with Epitaph
3 min read

When making funeral arrangements, selecting an epitaph can be a difficult and emotional process. Selecting a fitting inscription for a personalized monument is as important as choosing the right headstone for your loved one.

At St. Charles Monuments, we understand that an epitaph should positively encapsulate one’s life. Inscriptions of various lengths can be included in our monument specials packages.

There are many non-religious epitaphs that can remind visitors about their life’s accomplishments. Here are some of our favorite non-denominational epitaphs that are meaningful and applicable for many people.

What is an Epitaph?

An epitaph is a short statement, usually inscribed on a tombstone, plaque, or monument in memory of the person buried there. Epitaphs can be serious or humorous, religious or non-religious.

For centuries epitaphs have been a way of showing love for loved ones. Even the ancient Egyptians and Greeks used epitaphs to reflect the joy of life and the mourning for the departed. Therefore, choosing an epitaph is a tradition held in many cultures throughout history.

When you and your family are choosing an epitaph, there are many factors to consider. For instance, you can choose an epitaph that reflects the persons life or convey a general timeless message to the world. Additionally, you may choose a religious or secular epitaph.


Religious Epitaphs

“I will dwell in the house of the Lord”

“Ours for a moment, with our Lord forever”

“Blessed are the pure in hear for they shall see God”

These are common inscriptions found on Catholic or Christian headstones. Other religious epitaphs include those from the Jewish faith, which often include prayers for the dead, and Muslim epitaphs, which often talk about paradise.

Religious epitaphs are simple, to the point, and shows respect for the deceased. However, you don’t need to be religious to have a beautiful or meaningful epitaph.

Headstone engraving and epitaph honoring police and firefighters

Secular headstone honoring a family of police, firefighters, and EMTs.

Secular Epitaphs

An epitaph that is secular, or does not apply to any one religion exclusively, can be used for any tombstone. They can remind visitors about their life’s accomplishments or their character. Additionally, it can be a poem or saying that sends a message to the world in their honor.

Many of these secular epitaphs will still express the positive values depicted in religious epitaphs. However, they will also take a more humanistic approach, referring more to personal relationships than one’s relationship with God.

Some of the most famous and well-known people in history have secular epitaphs. For example, Marilyn Monroe’s reads:

“I lived, I loved, I laughed, I danced.”

These are some of our favorite non-denominational epitaphs, along with a brief analysis of them. All of these epitaphs can be selected for personalized monuments.

“Life is not measured
By the number of breaths we take,
But by the moments
That take our breath away”

This passionate epitaph is emblematic of a busy, activity-filled life. When a loved one who enjoyed traveling, emphasized world experience or strived to create memories passes away, this epitaph will capture their essence.

“Don’t mourn my loss, whatever you do
My leaving brings you closer to the loved ones
I have left behind and all the joys the future holds”

This quote speaks to one of the greatest ironies of death; that through hardship, we become closer to one another.

Considerations When Choosing a Headstone Epitaph

It can be difficult and stressful to choose the right wording for your cemetery monument. We have found that the best inscriptions are the ones that are kept simple. Additionally, depending on the size of your headstone, you may be limited on space.

Regardless of what you choose, always remember that your loved one is already unique. It’s ok to choose something that does not capture them perfectly. The name and date is the true personalization.

At St Charles Monuments, we guide customers in selecting the right epitaph.


What people say about us

“Thank you Marcus. We drove by the monument yesterday afternoon. My husband and I were very pleased. Thank you for giving us a gift of comfort and peace.”

Mary Amber

“Thank you so much. It has been a comforting and pleasant experience working with St. Charles Monuments. The memorial set looks great.””

Pam Carter

“The headstone is beautiful. They did a fantastic job. Again my family and I thank you for all your help with suggestions and with the arrangements.”

Laura Leddy

“My family and I visited my husband’s grave today. We were very pleased with the results. It looks very nice. Thank you.””

Mrs. Guginsky

 for all Cemeteries in NY & NJ
 for all Cemeteries in NY & NJ
 for all Cemeteries in NY & NJ
 for all Cemeteries in NY & NJ