When a close relative passes away, dealing with the loss can be quite difficult. If you choose to bury your loved one in a cemetery, you can visit his or her grave as often as you would like. Visiting the person's gravesite and caring for it are great ways to show honor to your loved one, and here are some tips to help you do this.
Clean the Headstone
Headstones are exposed to the outdoors, which means they can get dirty and damaged. To protect your relative's headstone, you may want to take the time to clean it. This is something you really only need to do a couple times each year, and you can do this by bringing a gallon of water and a soft cloth. Water is typically all you need to clean a headstone, and you should always avoid using harsh cleaners, such as bleach or borax. If necessary, you can use a non-ionic cleaner in the water.
To clean the stone, pour some water on it and wipe it dry with your cloth. If there are spots that will not come off with your cloth, you can rub them gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to loosen them.
Place Flowers on the Grave
Placing flowers on a grave is a great way to show honor, respect, and love, and you can place flowers on a grave as often as you would like. If you decide to do this, you may want to select flowers with certain meanings. Here are some popular flower types and the meanings they symbolize:
- Roses—Red roses, more particularly, are the common flower used to symbolize love. If you want to show love on Valentine's Day or any other day, you could place red roses on his or her grave.
- Pink carnations—If you lost a dear friend, you could place pink carnations on his or her grave as a symbol of remembrance.
- Lilies—Lilies are also an option you could choose, and these represent innocence and purity. These are ideal for a young child's grave or for someone virtuous you strongly admired in life.
If you leave fresh flowers on the grave, you should check back often so you can remove them when they die. If you cannot visit the grave often, you may want to stick with purchasing artificial flowers, because they will last longer.
Show Your Respect in Other Ways
Keeping the headstone clean and placing flowers on it are both great ways to show respect and honor, but these are not the only things you can do. For example, you could place other things on the gravesite, such as a flag. If your relative was in the military, this would be a great idea for showing honor.
Some people place stones and rocks on graves, and this is done as a way to keep the soul down or at rest. This is primarily a Jewish tradition, but you could do this even if you are not Jewish. You can also be even more creative with what you bring and leave on a headstone. If your dearly departed loved to sing, you could place a small musical instrument decoration on the stone. If he or she loved a certain sport, you could leave an item that relates to that sport.
Visiting the grave is one of the best ways you can show honor, because a visit shows you took time out of your busy schedule to spend at the cemetery. While you are there visiting, you could place something special on that person's grave to show that you care for and love him or her.
If you recently lost a loved one and have not yet purchased a gravestone for his or her grave, you may want to talk to a funeral home director, like one from Memorial Mortuaries, to find out what your options are.