COMPANION MONUMENTS – TOGETHER FOREVER

Many times when a spouse passes, the surviving spouse will purchase a double or companion monument.  This means that the headstone, footstone, or anything else that is being used to mark the grave, is now centered over 2 graves as opposed to just one.  This kind of monument arrangement offers significant benefits over going with a conventional single monument at the time, and then matching another single later on:

To begin with, most people are concerned about cost, and even though the monument is bigger and costs more than a single monument upfront, in the long term it turns out to be cost-effective.  Whether granite or bronze, companion monuments require more material than a single monument.  When the surviving spouse passes though, the only thing left to do is engrave the empty side of the monument, which is a lot less expensive than purchasing a brand new monument.  Materials also fluctuate in cost, and knowing that engraving is the only future task to complete will leave you with financial piece of mind.

Secondly, just as couples like to be buried side by side, it is also preferred by many to share a joint monument.  The feelings of love and unity remain visible to all even after both individuals have passed.   Companion monuments leave room for separate inscriptions and emblems, while maintaining a look of togetherness.  Sometimes double monuments can be made of one piece of material, or separate pieces combined.  Either way the effect is achieved.

Lastly, because companion monuments are generally larger than individual ones, the family name on the stone will usually be accented.  A large visual of the family name makes it easier for cemetery visitors to find their loved ones, instead of scavenging around the cemetery.  In the event that more than two graves are owned at the location, a larger family name will create a general consensus that the area is occupied by that specific family.

Even though all of these benefits exist, some people still prefer to have their own single monuments, which is just as fine.  Remember, these monuments are up for you and your family members to be able to visit and remember your loved ones, so make arrangements based on your preferences.

PLANNING AN UNVEILING

The unveiling is the formal dedication of the headstone. Religiously, an unveiling can take place anytime 30 days after the funeral, which is also referred to as the “Shloshim.”  Traditionally, many people wait 11 months to one year past the funeral as it marks the end of the formal mourning period.  It usually takes about 8-12 weeks to prepare a memorial so make sure to leave ample time to purchase the monument, and schedule your unveiling accordingly.  If you need to have your memorial made sooner, monument companies can usually make the necessary arrangements to have it completed in time, but it is always safer to leave at least 3 months before the unveiling date.

Most people schedule unveilings on Sundays mainly for convenience purposes. When you arrive at the cemetery for your unveiling, your memorial will be installed and securely veiled.  The cemetery will be notified plenty of time in advance by the monument company as well. Therefore, it is important that you notify your monument provider as soon as you set the date and the time for your unveiling. If you are having a rabbi at your unveiling, you will want to make sure to confirm the date and time with him/her as well.

You can have a rabbi conduct your unveiling service or you may lead the service without one. Some families feel more comfortable having a rabbi present, while others find the service more personal when conducted amongst family and friends. There is no right or wrong, so do what you are most comfortable with.

If a rabbi is present, he/she will lead the services and you won’t have to worry about figuring out necessary prayers etc.  If not, it is advised to pick up a copy of the unveiling service, so that you have some guidance as to how to proceed.  Fram Monument Company offers a downloadable and printable copy on their website, which can be found here: http://www.frammonument.com/dc/pdf/unveiling.pdf.  Again, there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to go about it.  What is important is for you and your family to feel that you are marking the grave, and honoring the deceased.  Don’t forget to pull the veil off of the stone while you are there.

 

JEWISH-FUNERALS.ORG – AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE

Being a part of the Baltimore/Washington Jewish Community has enabled me to come across the Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington.  The committee is made up of experienced individuals, who are actively involved with Jewish congregations, social service agencies, and chevra kadishas, to name a few.  This organization spends a tremendous amount of effort to ensure that Jews all over the world have the resources available during a time of need.  Their website, www.jewish-funerals.org, acts as a central bereavement database, which can help to educate users on the topics related to death.  Aside from the physical needs of the community, the JFPCGW also strives to create financial savings in the Greater Washington Area, by contracting with local providers to establish discounted rates (such as the Fram Monument contract for discounted bronze markers).  Whether you are a Baltimore/Washington resident, or not, I recommend keeping that site in your bookmarks.  Their work is not easy, and is much appreciated.

JEWISH MONUMENT COMPANY CONTRACTS WITH JEWISH FUNERAL PRACTICES COMMITTEE OF GREATER WASHINGTON TO PROVIDE SIGNIFICANTLY DISCOUNTED BRONZE MARKERS TO MARYLAND, DC, AND VIRGINIA COMMUNITIES

The Jewish Funeral Practices Committee of Greater Washington has contracted with Fram Monument Company of Rockville, MD to provide significantly discounted bronze markers to participating Jewish congregations and their members.  The contact can be viewed here: http://www.jewish-funerals.org/Fram.htm

Fram Monument Company is not the first company to contract with the JFPCGW to provide quality memorial services at discounted rates.  The Hines Rinaldi funeral home offers a similar program for funeral arrangements.

Fram Monument also provides granite markers, upright headstones, footstones, benches, vases, and plenty of resources to help with the unveiling ceremony, and can be found at http://www.frammonument.com/

The Washington Jewish Week, a MD/DC/VA newspaper wrote an interesting article regarding the entering into the community, and it can be found here: http://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=12777&TM=29244.21