If you’re reading this page, we assume that you recently lost or are planning for a loved one for whom you’re considering a grave memorial, and as for most people, this is all new to you. But even if you do know where to begin—and what to look for—our advice to you is nonetheless the same: Slow down and take as much time as you need.
If your loss is very recent, although you might not think so, you’re in a period of emotional vulnerability. And while most funeral directors and cemetery operators are upstanding professionals, nonetheless there are people “out there” who will take advantage of your grief to sell you more than you need; or they will pressure you into something that serves their commercial goals but—down the road— might fall short of your intentions for your loved one. Beware of those people who make you feel pressured or urge you to do something as soon as possible.
Another reason to wait: even if you’ve “been through this before” and are knowledgeable about personal memorials, there are probably other family members who are not in the same place as you. Every family member grieves in a different way. And each remembers a unique relationship with your deceased loved one: mother or father, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, and so forth. As such, each might require more or less time to find closure, and might be better able to express his or her wishes at a later date than at this particular moment.
In sum, there is no time limit to how long you can wait before placing a personal memorial. In fact, the European tradition that our ancestor, Kurt Pechmann, brought from Germany was to wait 60 to 90 days before approaching a family after the loss of a loved one. So, we would counsel that you take as long as you need to contemplate exactly what it is you want for your loved one, and to hear and understand the desires of other family members who have an emotional stake in your decision.