How to Care For Your Loved One's
By Tom Sangers
Headstones and other memorials, though symbolizing the
passing of loved ones, can still be a thing of beauty.
Caring for those markers is an important consideration.
Headstones constructed of marble, granite or bronze and
concrete stand out against the green of cemetery
landscaping. They are smooth and beautiful at placement
and can easily be maintained so that they stay that way
forever. The very first tip to caring for the headstone
is to choose one that is constructed from a durable
material. Remember, this material will be subjected to
every weather condition the area dictates; the elements
both of sky and of earth can be hard on any material,
even natural material. It would be wrong to assume that
a headstone made from natural material could withstand
the forces of nature without help.
The second step, after having chosen a durable material,
would be to make sure that you keep that material clean.
If the headstone is composed of marble or granite,
occasionally clean it with a fifty percent bleach
solution. Spread the solution with a paper towel and let
it sit for approximately thirty minutes, then wash it
away with plain water. If the headstone is bronze in
nature, you'll want to be sure that you purchase one
that has the correct percentage of metals in order to
provide a strong, lasting finish. There are cleaning
kits available specifically for caring for bronze
In all cases, a good tribute to your loved one is to
make sure that the headstone stays free of dirt, rust,
mildew, or acid trapped within the stone. Caring for
your loved one's grave site means never letting these
things happen and if they do, taking care of the problem
as soon as possible. If you haven't visited your loved
one's grave site lately, it may do you some good as well
as the site. It can feel good to care for the site and
the marker that sits atop it.
Recently, a cottage growth industry has formed and
started to grow around the care and restoration of
family headstones. There are whole teams of individuals
busily working to restore headstones from the 17th
through the 19th century. Caring for and restoring these
headstones is a bit trickier than caring for modern day
headstones because they were made of materials such as
slate and sandstone. Both easily worked materials but
also easily damaged by the elements due to their
malleable nature. This means that as time goes on, the
surface of the stone can wear away, making the words
fade and blur together.
Caring for your loved ones' headstones is important, not
only for your sake, but also for those of your future
family. Some time in the future, when a relative looks
back to find his or her roots, this headstone may be the
only link that allows them to find their way back
through their history to the roots of the family.