60+ Ideas for Headstone Quotes & Sayings

This is part of Cake’s collection of articles on funeral planning end of life planning. Create your free Cake profile today to discover, document, and share your end-of-life wishes.

Published on:

Headstone inscriptions and remembrance quotes, otherwise known as epitaphs or terms of endearment, are a final way to memorialize your loved one. 

Jump ahead to these sections: 

What to Consider Before You Choose a Quote

Take some time after the funeral to pause for clarity. Rushing the process may lead you to choose an epitaph based on what you are feeling now, versus how they made your life better.

  • Consider the voice of the epitaph. Do you want it to speak to strangers or specific family members?
  • If the quote is universal, then the audience will be general. 
  • Look to literature and lyrics for sources of inspiration. 
  • Even a poem from the funeral can help provide inspiration. 
  • And make sure you confirm that the deceased did not specify what they wanted on their headstone. 

If you get stuck, here are a few quotes to help you along the way.

Headstone Quotes for Parents

1. You will always be remembered.

This inscription helps create a lasting legacy for parents from their family.

2. Forever in our hearts.

For the parents who made their adoration for their children unquestionable, now children can return the favor with this inscription.

3. Should we lose each other in the shadow of the trees, I’ll wait for you. And should I fall behind, wait for me.

Bruce Springsteen is a songbird for industrial Americans, but he’s also a devoted family man. Strong men can say beautiful things, too.

4. Devoted mother and father.

Terms of endearment often used for religious parents, but also shows their devotion to their family.

5. No one spread more love in one lifetime.

An epitaph for loving parents who were also caring individuals. 

6. Death is only a shadow across a path to heaven.

Life’s journey is filled with beautiful moments before and after grief.

7. I’ll see you on the other side of the stars.

Written to share the wonderful sentiment that we are rejoined with our loved ones after death.

8. Now protecting us from above.

Parents safeguarded their families here on Earth, and now they protect their families while in heaven.

9. If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Mourning is a slow journey to understanding. Percy Bysshe Shelley saw that the Earth provides that journey in the seasons.

10. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days.

If John Keats got his wish, we’d spend all those three idyllic days grateful to be with the ones who mattered most to us.

11. Out beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.

Rumi understood the path from beginning love to true partnership was also filled with issues and pain.

Headstone Quotes for Grandparents

12. Their love will last an eternity.

For the couple who showed us what love and commitment looked like.

13. Beyond the sunset.

The sun might have set on their lives, but grandma and grandpa still exist in our hearts.

14. She died with her shoes on.

For the grandmother whose ever-present masterpiece was tireless giving and bountiful loving.

15. A citizen without reproach, a friend without pretense, a philanthropist without display, a Christian without hypocrisy.

We’re lucky to know formidable human beings who also happen to be loving and sweet grandparents.

16. If it takes forever, I’ll wait for you.

Devotion comes from both sides.

17. Life is not forever, but love is.

Honoring the relationship and love your grandparents built throughout their lives.

18. Until we meet again.

The ageless quality to this inscription speaks to a time before technology when we had an opportunity to miss one another before being reunited.

19. Together forever.

Being married for 40 or 50 years is a powerful statement to the enduring love of grandparents. And this inscription focuses on the love between two people and its ability to transcend life. 

20. Gone fishin’.

Did your grandfather teach you how to put a worm on a hook, use a bobber, and patiently wait for a fish? He may like this quote.

21. Real love stories never have endings.

Imperfection is what makes love so remarkable.

Headstone Quotes for Daughters and Sons

22. So little, yet so loved.

The love for a child starts before they are even born.

23. So small, so sweet, so soon.

A solemn and beautiful inscription for a premature baby. 

24. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.

For the parents who want to show how much they love their child. And how much they wanted to take away their child’s suffering.

25. Just in the morning of the day in youth and love, she died.

Parents want their children to live full and happy lives.

26. His presence lent a radiance so sublime no sense of death can dim or time.

This inscription honors the spark within a child that will be remembered forever.

27. God’s garden needs flowers.

Children are as innocent and delicate as spring flowers, so great comfort comes from imagining those flowers thriving in heaven.

28. An angel visited the Earth and took a flower away.

Some little ones paint the day with bright, shiny colors with every step they take.

29. A life measured in memories, not years

Love and impact don’t need timelines to give them value.

30. Now twilight lets her curtain down and pins it with a star.

For the beacon of light that is a child, as said by William Shakespeare.

Take a look at more ideas for headstone quotes for a son.

Military Headstone Quotes

31. A family man (or woman) and patriot.

For the career military member who was also a devout parent.

32. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams understood the inescapable presence wherein others naturally want to emulate you.

33. The patriot's blood is the seed of freedom's tree.

Thomas Campbell’s short saying is a robust reminder that without the service member, we wouldn’t have our Constitution. 

34. Gone but not forgotten.

For the service member who worked tirelessly to protect and serve, no matter the cost.

35. Proud American.

A patriot is a patriot, so they are recognized for their service to their country above all else.

36. A day of duty done. A day of rest begun.

Core military mantras surround doing, being, and excelling. 

Religious Headstone Quotes

37. Lord, thank you for a beautiful life.

The poignancy of this short, but sweet Christian epitaph isn’t about a single moment or event—it’s about every single one. 

38. Generous of heart, constant in faith.

Love and devotion are consistent with any religion or faith. 

39. Whatever happened was good/ Whatever is happening is good/ Whatever will happen will also be good.

This reassuring Hindi quote has multiple inward and outward interpretations, whether speaking to visiting family, passersby or as though the decedent is now knowingly speaking to themselves.

40. Whoever believe in him may have eternal life

John 3:15. Faith is a rewarded devotion.

41. He passes from death to life.

An entire history of belief about the road and journey we travel before, during, and afterlife is found in this six-word verse from John 5:24.

42. Here lies/ the God-fearing man,/ our teacher,/ Ben Tzion,/ son of our teacher Tzvi Yitzhak/ Lipshitz./ He died Friday, the eve of the Holy Sabbath, 20 Tevet year 5660 [10 December 1899] as the abbreviated era/ May his soul be bound in the bond of everlasting life (1).

Jewish epitaphs are specific. They’re formulated with an opening abbreviation, a short epithet or more; the person’s given name and occupation or title, the name of their father, followed by their surname, the date of their death using the Hebrew Calendar and a final saying. 

43. In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.

Buddhists can see life in its complement as a learning lesson for better living in its present.

Funny Headstone Quotes

44. I told you I was sick.

One last “I told you so.”

45. I am ready to meet my Maker, whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter!

Winston Churchill’s mind had an abundance of both wit and wisdom.

46. Here lies [Name]/ Age 102/ Only the good die young.

Some people are determined to breathe fire until the day they die.

47. Now I know something you don’t!

Funny and true. 

48. It’s not that I am afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

As an epitaph, this Woody Allen quote is a warm blanket of humor for the whole cemetery. 

49. Curiosity did not kill this cat.

Author Studs Terkel often wrote how it was his innate curiosity that kept him moving, so when he came up with this line for his headstone, it had two levels of humor.

50. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss had a way words that made you feel good about where you were and where you were going in life.

51. Return to sender.

When this inscription is voiced from the perspective of the decedent, you know they certainly had a great sense of humor.

52. I’ll be back.

Not in that condition, I hope!

53. I hope to arrive to my death late, in love and a little drunk.

Atticus wanted to enjoy life and then enjoy some more.

Headstone Quotes for Pets

54. The way to heaven is on horseback.

Horse lovers understand the wild and carefree spirit of these beautiful animals.

55. Wherever a soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories.

When the Earth awakens, you are there in the pasture and barn with them. When the Earth is ready to sleep, they are in the fields waiting for you.

56. Your paws left prints on our hearts.

Muddy, wet, or dry paw prints around the home tell stories of adventures and play. When they are imprinted on your heart, they tell stories of devotion and love in the quiet moments.

57. [Name] was the cat’s meow.

Some cats know they are the most beautiful feline in the world, while others roam the neighborhood to share the news with other meow-makers.

58. Remembering you is easy, I do it every day, it’s just the heartache of losing you that will never go away. 

Cats and dogs live with you more intimately than any other creature. This makes the void in their loss more potent because it exists everywhere in your life

59. Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France’s words are for the animal parent whose loss remarks of the knowing bond unlike anything else in the world.

60. Beauty without vanity/ Strength without insolence/ Courage without ferocity/ All the virtues of man/ Without any of his vices.

Never was a more accurate observation about a dog’s personality written than these words by George Gordon Byron.

61. The song ended but the melody lingers on.

The trill, whistle, pipe, or tweet of birdsong is part of nature’s symphony.

62. You are a song in our hearts forever.

Birds live long, healthy lives. Their death creates a deep loss to be filled with the memory of their song.