The epitaph on your gravestone is a great way to project to the living world your one final pearl of wisdom.
We’ve done a round-up of weird headstones around the globe and the bizarre messages their owners wanted known … or did they?
1. Herman Harband
This spurned husband wanted everyone to know that for two decades he treated his wife like a princess, but that when he became disabled, she tried to poison, rob and abandon him.
The headstone is at New York’s Beth David Memorial Gardens, but records kept at the cemetery show that Herman Harband is not buried underneath it, even though he had paid for the plot.
2. Leonard Matlovich
In 1975, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, Leonard Matlovich was one of the first US soldiers to come out of the closet. Thereafter, his controversial fight to hang on to his military job became public. When he found he had AIDS 11 years later, he wrote his own epitaph.
The gravestone at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington reads: ‘A Gay Vietnam Veteran. When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one’.
3. Edith Barlow
We are not sure where Edith is buried, but we admire her bluntness. At just 50 years when she died, her epitaph was as brief as her short life: ‘Shit happens’.
4. George Spencer Millet
Poor George didn’t live beyond the age of 15 because his female work colleagues were crowding around him, eager to give him 15 birthday kisses on his birthday. Unfortunately, he was also holding a metal (not rubber) ink eraser that was six inches long and in the shape of a knife.
In the lengthy explanation that must have given the mason who carved it very sore hands indeed, we’re told that he: ‘… lost life by stab[bing] in falling on ink eraser, evading six young women trying to give him birthday kisses in office Metropolitan Life Building.’
And yes, he did indeed die on his birthday.
5. W.B. Yeats
And while famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats left behind many words for us to contemplate, he could not help himself having one last say: ‘Cast a cold Eye On Life, on Death. Horseman, pass by.’
6. Charles A. Lindbergh
Aviator Charles Lindbergh left behind something a little more cryptic: ‘… If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea …’
7. Oscar Wilde
We think he may have been outdone, though, by the witty Oscar Wilde: ‘And alien tears will fill for him Pity’s long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn.’
8. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Buried with wife Zelda Sayre, novelist Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald’s gravestone reads: ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past.’
9. Sylvia Plath Hughes
The simple headstone of troubled American poet Sylvia Plath, who took her own life, suggests a life lived in torment: ‘Even amidst fierce flames the golden lotus can be planted.’
10. Maria Arroyo
Mrs Arroyo and her husband Juan Jose share a gravestone which reads: ‘I told you I was sick.’ But we are not sure who was being told.
Do you plan to write your own epitaph? If so, will it be sarcastic, funny or ominous?