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Emerson Monument Blog

Coping with Holiday Grief
It is such an odd feeling to not be in the holiday spirit- especially if you have loved the holidays in the past. But those were different times. Times when everyone was together to make memories and celebrate with laughter.
Although it may not feel normal to you, it is not uncommon for people who have lost a loved one to feel as though they are unable to cope with the holiday festivities.  
But what is one to do when the world around them seems so happy yet they feel so sad? We have compiled a list of suggestions from families we have served to help you (or a loved one) to survive the holiday season.
  1. Allow yourself to feel sad and recognize that this holiday season without a loved one is a milestone. Sometimes it is difficult to give yourself permission to truly feel sad, but it is an important permission to grant. In fact, your feelings of intense sadness may not last as long if you allow yourself to feel them.
  2. Know where to find comfort. Public places known for their festivities (such as the mall) might not be the best places for you to go this year. Instead, go to a place that is quiet & soothing. Ideas may include going to the spa, reading at the library, checking out a local museum or simply calling a friend who understands.
  3. Don't be afraid to start new traditions. You can still hold tightly to the old without feeling bad about starting the new. It's okay to create new traditions designed for your new family situation.
  4. Don't overdo it. If the thought of decorating the house overwhelms you, then simply don't do it. And refuse to feel guilty for that decision.
  5. Pace yourself.  You do not have to uphold the obligations you did in the past. Allow yourself the luxury of slowing down and embrace the feeling of letting go of the old "should have" and "have to" concept.
  6. Tell people what you need. It is difficult to ask others for help. But it is also difficult for family and friends to know how to relate to or help you unless you are specific about your wants and needs. Tell others what you need and allow them to enjoy the gift of giving you what you need.
  7. Allow yourself to laugh and smile. Some folks report they feel guilty when they laugh or smile when they "should" be grieving. It's normal to feel guilty about having fun after a loss. However, it is also important for you to not lose sight of who you are and what you love. If you find yourself in a situation where you are enjoying yourself, then feel free to have fun and enjoy the moment.
  8. Lean on your faith. Remember to touch base with your source of spirituality. Doing so will bring comfort, strength and wisdom. 


Decorating in the cemetery is a wonderful way to keep a loved one's legacy and memory alive. Many families find decorating in the cemetery to be therapeautic and especially enjoy keeping their loved ones' graves festive for the holidays. There are two popular tools that families use to decorate: vases and saddles. 

Vases are great tools to decorate the side of a memorial. If you are choosing to decorate with vases then you will likely need to pick up some florist foam at a craft store such as Hobby Lobby. The florist foam is typically green and I prefer to use the kind that comes pre-cut in wedges, as I find it difficult to cut.

The florist foam serves two important purposes:

1. It allows water to drain through it with ease while keeping unwanted debris from filling your vases.

2. You can jam flower stems through the foam and they will stay put through the worst of wind storms. 

As much florist foam as possible should be placed into each vase. I debated on whether or not to use the word "cram", but it really is the best word choice here. You will cram foam into the vase until you think that you couldn't possibly cram any more in there. Remember- the florist foam is what holds your flowers in place, so be certain that it fills the entire container firmly. 

Once you have filled the vase with the foam, you want to "jab" your flower stems into the foam as hard as you can. This feels a little "unusual", because the foam will resist the flowers a little. However, keep jabbing the stems into the foam until the flowers are securely in the vase and sitting at a height you like. 

Didn't purchase vases but now wish you had some? No problem! Vases can always be added after a monument has been installed. Contact our sales counselors and we will be glad to help you select vases that will compliment your memorial.


Saddles are beautiful tools to decorate the top of a monument. In fact, it isnt' uncommon to see families to decorate with both vases and saddles at the same time. The trickiest thing about saddles is getting them to stay on top of the monument during blustery seasons like the fall.

Floral saddles have metal prongs on the front and back that may be easily bent to fit on top of the monument more securely. We recommend bending those prongs and making them fit as tightly as possible over the top of your memorial. In addition to bending the prongs, you can also try our all-new Saddle Stay

Saddle Stay is an exciting new product designed to keep your saddles on your monuments longer. 



 new flower anchor 2         anchor 1 large


Saddle Stay is best used on monuments with a polished (or smooth) top and retails for $15. If you think this would be a good solution for your decorating needs, please contact one of our memorial counselors and they will be glad to assist you. 

Saddles may be purchased at your local florist and can also be customized to fit your loved one's personality. Some of the most creative saddles we have seen have been centered around a favorite sports team!


Have some great decorating tips and tricks you would like to share? Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! 



Custom memorials are so much fun to work on because they really tell a story about the person(s) they memorialize. Several years ago I had a sweet customer come in with a huge chunk of petrified wood. Petrified wood!!!  This is a photo of the wood- isn't it pretty? Petrified wood has been used in memorial work on occasion because it is a durable material that will stand the test of time. However, it is also a difficult material to work with because it is extrememly hard, which makes cutting and engraving difficult. 


This piece of petrified wood had been found on the family farm and was a rare find. Being that petrified wood is both beautiful and durable, the Smith family desired to incorporate the wood into their memorial. Mrs. Smith had given the memorial a great deal of thought and consideration and decided that she wanted to saw the wood in half and then polish it. She would then incorporate the pieces into a memorial design. 

Because she lived some distance away and wanted to make the most of her trip in to our office, Mrs. Smith sketched her ideas the best she could and sent them to us via email. Didn't she do a great job of using her resources?! 

Smith idea

Sketching your memorial ideas is a great way to communicate your design ideas to our artists and helps us better understand how we can help you. 

Permanence is a goal of every memorial we make. We want the monument to serve as a permanent historical record while also remaining permanently beautiful. To achieve that with her design ideas, we suggested an upright monument. Monuments that lay flat on the ground run a risk of damage from the mowers and weed eaters and the customer certainly did not want her petrified wood to cause a problem with the cemetery equipment. 

Granite color was an important decision because we wanted the granite to coordinate with the polished surface of the petrified wood. The customer worked with us and chose a black granite, that lended to the earth tones of the petrified wood. She also wished to add a touch of elegance to the memorial by choosing bronze letters. 

Bronze letters are beautiful and truly make a memorial stand out in the cemetery. The bronze letters come with little "snaps" on the back of them, as well as a template. To attach the letters on the stone we utilize the template and use it to drill little holes for the "snaps" to fit securly into. We then use a special compound to encourage adhesion and permanency. 

Once the letters had been added to the stone it was time to attach the petrified wood. We used a special compound to attach the wood to the granite and the memorial was completed. 

This memorial was so much fun to work on because of the unique materials and the beautiful story it tells. 


Smith installed







Celtic cross memorials are stunning, aren't they? Every year at Emerson Monument Company, we get a few requests for Celtic cross monuments and they are all so special to me because they are each very unique. However, there is one Celtic cross headstone that has stolen my heart and I wanted to share it's story with you.

Headstones and memorials are something that I am passionate about and I love to share my passion with the families I serve. So, when Mr. Scherz came in requesting a beautifully unique Celtic cross memorial, I was immediatly glad to help him. He had seen a Celtic cross headstone we had done in the older section of the Bentonville Cemetery and wanted one that was similar, but not exact. This is a photo of the Gocio memorial that we completed several years ago. Isn't it beautiful?!

goccio website

Memorials are just as unique as the people they are made to memorialize. The Gocio monument (pictured above) is beautiful, but Mr. Scherz wanted something that was very different from any Celtic cross memorial I had seen before: he wanted a Celtic cross without the holes that are typically cored all the way through the memorial near the cross arms. When I asked him why he wished to not have the holes in the cross, he shared a story of being a young boy and throwing crab-apples and just knew that some little boy might find those holes to be a good target for some crab-apple throwing! It was so fun to listen to his childhood story and understand why this element of the design was important to him. 

Now, neither my customer or I had ever actually seen a Celtic cross memorial without holes that were cored through the cross and we were both a little nervous of what that might look like. And what better way to find a Celtic cross just like the one my customer wanted than to trek halfway accross the world and find one?!

Now, we will let it be known that I am just as passionate about travel as I am memorialization, and was thrilled to be able to search for some ideas while on a trip to the UK. I just knew that I would step foot into the historic Canongate Kirk Cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland and immediately spot exactly what I was searching for. But I was wrong. 

Cemeteries are beautiful, peaceful and historical. And this cemetery was certainly breathtaking; however, there was not one single Celtic cross without holes located there. In fact, I was unable to locate such a memorial in any of the countless cemeteries I visited in Ediburgh, Scotland or Dublin, Ireland. I was becoming a little discouraged and was scared I would have to call Mr. Scherz and tell him my travels yielded no results. I knew he would understand, but I certainly did not want to disappoint him. 

As the trip came to a close we found ourselves in the Snowdonia mountain range just outside of Betws-y-Coed, Wales. It was an area that fairy tales are made of, lined with old rock wall fences and dotted with snow-white sheep. The fresh mountain air was cool and the day was sunny and perfect for a bike ride along the winding village roads. We strapped on bright orange vests (to notify the local motorists that we were, indeed, from the US and likely to become confused while biking on the wrong side of the road!) and some helmets and took off to explore the Welch countryside. We stopped at the St. Mary's church burial ground and, still, no sign of a Celtic cross without holes. Discouraged but enjoying the ride, we took off toward the heart of Snowdonia. 

As we followed the A5 road toward Capel Curig, Wales, we came to a "T" in the road. Not certain which way to turn, we stopped for water and a quick look at the map. And, as we stood there and took in our surroundings, I spotted the one and only item I had been searching the entire trip for!! There, serving as a roadside memorial, stood a beautiful Celtic cross WITHOUT HOLES!!!

Roadside memorials can come in all shapes, sizes, materials and designs- even in Wales!

scherz for blog

I was so excited to have found this gem in such an unexpected place and couldn't wait to let Mr. Scherz know of my discovery! I don't know about you, but I always seem to find exactly what I am looking for when I least expect it! 

Custom memorials are creative and fun to work on, and this one was no exception. I love working closely with my customers as I learn their stories and understand the legacies that they wish to leave behind. We chose a Georgia Gray granite with a sawn finish to make the memorial look as white as possible. The goal of memorialization is to create a beautifully permananet memorial that will stand the test of time. We do not recommend the use of white marble, as it is a softer and more brittle material than granite, thus why we chose the material we did for this cross. We also incorporated the use of love knots.

Cemetery symballism is something that has been used since the beginning of time. The love knots on a Celtic cross most commonly symbolize love, friendship and affection. 

We also chose to utilize raised, hand-tooled letters for their last name, to keep with a classic look. Hand-tooled letters were especially common on older memorials and really add a beautiful element of design and craftsmanship to a memorial. We love the way this one turned out and love how it looks in the cemetery!

scherz with logo for blog



My name is Alison Raymer and I am the co-owner and CEO of Emerson Monument Company in Springdale, AR.

Each day I have the privilege of sitting down with families and helping them create a beautiful and unique memorial in honor of themselves or their loved ones. People often ask me how I manage to work in my line of business and, yet, seem so happy. The answer is simple: I have the greatest customers in the world.

I love sitting with the families I serve and listening to their stories about the technological changes they have seen in their lifetime or how they got their nicknames. In fact, by the time we have completed a memorial I often feel as though I have known the family forever and even think of them from time to time throughout the years. It is a business that I love and am passionate about; and I hope to spread that passion to you.


Helpful Resources | Emerson Monument Co.


Monuments can be difficult to shop for simply because they are not items that you typically consider purchasing on a regular basis. If you were to buy a new tv you would have an idea of what size and type you would want. If you were purchasing a business you would find countless online resources and consultants to assist you. However, when it comes to purchasing a headstone, there simply isn't much information available. That is why we created this page.

How to Choose a Monument Company
Selecting a monument company with whom you will do business is a very important part of the monument purchase process. While many families are interested solely in the price of the monument, it is also important to consider the reliability of the company you will work with. This factor is pertinent for many reasons including the ability to provide future repairs or maintenance services and the ability to ensure that your monument will most definitely be placed in the cemetery after you have purchased and paid.

To assist in learning the criteria that designates a great monument company, please read How to Choose a Reputable Monument Retailer.

Epitaphs are the sayings that people often place on headstones. At Emerson Monument Co. we recognize that it is difficult to create a saying that represents a loved one's life and have compiled a list to help.

How to Help a Grieving Friend or Family Member
Perhaps the only thing more difficult than experiencing grief yourself is knowing how to help someone you love through a period of loss and mourning. If you have found yourself in this situation, you will want to check out our resource entitled,"How You Can Help Me".

What About Veterans?
At Emerson Monument Co. we are proud of the country we are blessed to live in and thank those who have given their lives for our freedom. While you may know that certain burial benefits are available to veterans, you may not know that we can assist you with arranging for a VA headstone.

Veterans are entitled to a government-issue military marker through the Department of Veteran's Affairs. While many families use the VA marker as a foot stone (i.e. at the foot of the grave), others do prefer to utilize the marker as the primary headstone. If you are interested in applying for a VA marker in honor of your loved one, please print and complete the application, gather the necessary discharge papers, and bring them both in with you- we will handle it from there.

If you would like to order a VA marker for your loved one simply bring his or her discharge papers with you and we will take care of the rest.

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