Perhaps most of us have spent some time anticipating our own deaths, our own mortality. Maybe these are but fleeting moments, or maybe not. Have you ever pictured the gravestone meant for you, and what it might mean to those who visit your grave site? For many of us this may be a macabre subject, one that’s hard to embrace. But as we hear from Nicholas Benson, gravestones can host profound messages that convey so much about the stories of our lives – who we were, what we aimed to be, the very essence of our being.

Nicholas Benson owns the John Stevens Shop in Newport, RI, a small stone carving business founded in 1705, that specializes in the design and carving of one-of-a-kind inscriptions in stone.