The loss of a loved one can be a tremendously painful experience. The grieving are plunged into funeral arrangements, possibly for the first time in their lives. Many can feel overwhelmed by the planning and decision-making at this time of mourning. After the ceremony  the family and close loved ones must turn their attention to how to mark the grave by creating a fitting memorial to commemorate the life of the deceased. The long-lasting memorial which is created is the final gift which can be bestowed upon a loved one and, as such, much consideration should be given to the design. No matter how simple the design, feelings and personal sentiments can still be expressed and memories ‚set in stone’ to last throughout the years. However, tastes and styles change over time. Today,  monument companies are able to provide far more than  just a  traditional headstone. Modern memorial manufacturers aim to enable customers to create personalised grave markers which most fittingly represent the life of the departed. Technological advancement means that memorials can now reflect the character, interests or hobbies of the loved one. Many companies offer catalogues of set designs which can be modified for each customer with the price adjusted accordingly. The price of the memorial depends upon the size, shape, inscription and material chosen for the design and any accessories, such as flower pots, which can be added. In addition to this, a wide range of motifs, for example animals, sporting symbols or flowers, are available to attached to the grave marker in order to individualise the design. Some companies can provide a far more personalised service, enabling the customer to have full input into the design process. Despite their uniqueness, such original designs can be created to meet demands of budget. They need not be beyond the reach of any customer. Reputable modern memorial companies can assist even the least imaginative amongst us to create something individual and special. Grave markers can be created in any shape. Thus an avid football fan could have a memorial in the shape of a football, team crest or cup. Markers can be made in the shape of a dream car or motorbike. Music lovers can be commemorated with a beautiful headstone in shape of the guitar. These memorials look very impressive and they are perfectly suitable for departed in whose life music played a key role. Elements such as engraving lyrics of the departed’s favourite song in the inscription could complement the design. Headstones are available in the shape of various animals. Someone with a passion for  animals or a much loved pet can be commemorated in this way. An animal can even be chosen to represent the character of the departed, for instance, a horse-shaped headstone, symbolising freedom, strength and happiness, would be appropriate for someone brave, who was enjoying. Book-shaped headstones are another popular design. Such shapes are elegant and perfectly reflect the story of our ‚earthly adventure’. Sometimes “our stories” come to an end unexpectedly and too early. This can be especially true when called upon to create a memorial for a baby or child. Heartbreaking though the process is, grave markers can still be designed to commemorate the love and joy the young life gave to others. Designs for children often reflect the naivety and innocence of such youth.  Favourite characters, toys and teddy bears are among designs which have been chosen for children. Perhaps markers which have associations with much warmer memories ease a family visit to the gravesite. They give the impression that the departed child is comforted by something familiar and of great meaning in their short life whilst waiting to be joined by family in time to come. Britishtheologian, RichardHooker, oncesaid: “Think of your child, then, not as dead, but as living; not as a flower that has withered, but as one that is transplanted, and touched by a Divine hand, is blooming in richer colours and sweeter shades than those of earth.” If you still wish for originality in the design but are not tempted by something quite so personal, a heart-shaped marker would reflect love for the departed. The heart shape makes a beautiful memorial and it is a universal symbol of love for either women or men. Monument companies can provide you with memorials which are made in compliance with regulations adopted by a local cemetery. It should be noted that some cemeteries have restrictions on sizes, materials, shapes, or colours. Reputable monuments can check these regulations on your behalf or assist you in this process. The departed loved one was a unique character, like no other. A tradition headstone may be an simple choice, but does it truly reflect the  life and personality lost? A unique headstone complements a unique life.