Tag Archives: death

Father Time

Father Time also known as the Grim Reaper, the master of death and harvester of souls, symbolizes mortality. He is usually represented with a long beard and long hair carrying a scythe, and often with wings on his back. Hourglass symbols are also associated with him.

The scythe represents the Divine harvest and the hourglass denotes that the sands of time bring us closer to death. As the scythe cuts the harvest, so life is ended by Father Time.

The images above depict Father Time tipping the hourglass above an image of the deceased.

Time passes, memories last. – 1990

Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade
Death came with timely care
The opening bud to heaven conveyed
And bade it blossom there.

Sword Symbolism

The Sword is symbolic of courage; justice; martyrdom; military or warfare.


Rest my son in thy far off grave.
You died for your country like a hero brave.

In the days when the sword was a principle weapon of battle they were often regarded as magical objects with supernatural properties. Warrior tombs feature swords as a mark of the dead’s profession or as a sign that the deceased was cut down in battle. A broken sword represents a life cut short.

Crossed swords commemorate a high ranking military person; or a life lost in battle. They are often seen on the gravestones of veterans, especially officers.

Windsor - Sword side of monument

  • An inverted sword is symbolic of death in battle; a relinquishment of power; or victory.
  • A sword within its sheath represents temperance.
  • Archangels sometimes carry swords as a symbol of God’s Judgement in the life to come.
  • A superstition predicts death if a sword falls from its scabbard.
  • An oath made on a sword was as binding as one made on a Bible.

Loss and Grief

Death and grief are felt in the same way throughout the world regardless of religion or race. We are unified only in birth and death.

The statuary in cemeteries is matched only by the words on stone. This verse is from All Saints Churchyard in Newtown Lindford, England:
Weep not
Dear Friends, but be content
For I to you was only lent.
In love I lived; in peace I died.
You asked my life but God denied.
Farewell, dear friends, and cease to weep.
In Christ I dwell; in Christ I sleep.

Let’s Get Creepy

Polloe Cemetery, San Sebastian, Spain
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

pinterest-espleenpinterest uploadtumblr_lvl7kbtOp11qbcporo1_500

Messina, Sicily

A cemetery monument dedicated to a mother and child who were found dead in an embrace under the rubble of the earthquake in Messina 1908.

Hill of Crosses, near the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania.
Melaten-Friedhof, Cologne, Germany
Holocaust memorial, Pere Lachaise, Paris, France
Brugges cemetery, Belgium
Ingolstadt, Bavaria


Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain
Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain

1930 sculpture titled Kiss of Death depicts death planting a kiss on a young man’s forehead.

Johannis Cemetery, Nürnberg, Germany


Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy
spain barcelona
Cementiri de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain


Port Charlotte Florida
Spanish moss on trees in Florida


The Rose

Flowers in a cemetery are a common sight, and they are also a common engraving on gravestones, in particular, the rose.

Milton evergreen_Rose

Milton Evergreen_shield




St Joseph_Acton_rose

The rose represents love and purity and the brevity of life on earth.
Heart Rose


Milton evergreen_Book Cross Rose

Milton evergreen_Bible Rose

Life like a blooming flower is never meant to be permanent. The development stage of a rose indicates how old the deceased was at time of death. A bud is usually a child 12 or under; a partial bloom represents a teenager; and if it is in full bloom, the deceased died in the prime of life.

Milton Evergreen_branch


roses Cross Rose Cross5

Another symbol of the death of a young person is a broken rosebud. It symbolizes that life was cut short.

Milton Evergreen_broken Flower Rose broken

A strong bond between two people (e.g., mother and child who died at the same time) is represented by two rosebuds joined.

Several rosebuds on the same branch signifies secrecy.

A rose and a poppy signify eternal sleep.

In death, the colour of the rose is significant although this is not something present in a cemetery.  A red rose represents martyrdom a Tudor rose is beauty, and a white rose symbolizes purity.

A wreath of roses can represent beauty or that the deceased was innocent and sinless.

flower wreath

The following verse is popular in funeral prayer cards.

The Rose
A rose once grew where all could see,
Sheltered beside a garden wall.
And, as the days passed swiftly by,
It spread its branches, straight and tall.

One day, a beam of light shone through
A crevice that had opened wide –
The rose bent gently toward its warmth
Then passed beyond to the other side.

Now you who deeply feel its love,
Be comforted – the rose blooms there –
Its beauty even greater now,
Nurtured by God’s own loving care.

Milton evergreen_wall2    Milton Evergreen_wall

Milton Evergreen_on wall