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Writing my own epitaph2 min read

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Before I begin this post in earnest, I must admit that I had to look up the difference between the words eulogy, elegy, and epitaph (not epitath!) while looking for the word that describes the inscription on a tombstone. For your interest, I have provided the definitions at the end of this post.

This past week as I was walking, thinking, and praying, I recalled how, in my 20’s, I enjoyed visiting the Union Cemetery in Hackettstown, NJ, learning from the gravestones. I particularly enjoyed the ones with advice for the living, and thought, I too would like to say something from the grave as well.

But what short proverb or riddle could sum up what I think is most important at this point in my life?  Here’s what I came up with.

Stop dear youth and understand my riddle:
Pursue passion, compassion, and the voice of God, and you will live.
Ignore any, and you will die.

Mk. 12:29-31 | Jn. 17:3 | Mt. 16:26 | Ec. 12:13-14

I thought that putting these verses up just as references would be (1) practical – you can’t have too many words on a headstone, and (2) would arouse the curiosity of the reader to go look them up and perhaps discover the richness of the scriptures for themselves.

What would you put on your gravestone?


  • elegy – a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation especially for one who is dead
  • epitaph – an inscription on or at a tomb or a grave in memory of the one buried there
  • eulogy – a commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one decease