If I could choose a memorial for myself, I'd commission a 15-foot metal sculpture made into giant spoon. It would be more ornate than this one, but you get the idea.
The epitaph would read:
1955 - 2035
That sums it up. A woman of few words in the end.
I would like to have my giant spoon installed on a favourite bluff in the Marin Headlands. Not the touristy part with all car fumes and endurance cyclists. The curvy part I used to drive on, clinging to the road for dear life. The place you don't risk stopping if you want to continue living a bit longer.
This particular spoon is in a field on the outskirts of a Northumberland town. It was created by Bob Budd and is appropriately titled "Eat for England."
We're not very creative about death. We're mostly in a hurry to get it over with. We usually want it tidy with minimum sturm und drang, even though that's exactly what life is.
Most places like churchyards and cemeteries have strict rules about the kind of memorial we can commission for our loved one. I went through a half dozen drawings before the 800 year old church, where Richard is buried, approved anything. They required a Victorian style stone in keeping with the memorials in the surrounding area.
I wanted a tall sculpture of books, each representing one of Richard's many passions, topped off with a pair of blackbirds. What I ended up with was a million miles from my vision, though it suits the setting. Most of all, I think Richard would like it.
If you want to mark your loved one's final resting place, consider commissioning a hand carved stone, sculpture or piece of art reflecting her life. If it will be installed on land you don't own, like a churchyard or cemetery, you will want to review the requirements before deciding on design, size and materials. You will also want to allow plenty of time for your memorial, anywhere from six months to a year.
Two stone carvers I recommend are Lucy Churchill and Robyn Golden-Hann, both in England. Your memorial can be shipped to you anywhere in the world. Prices for a hand-carved memorial start at around £3000/$4000 and go up from there, depending on materials and complexity.
If you need a place to start, look at stone sculptures and carvings, online and off. While you'll likely run into the same kind of restrictions I had to work with, you will get a feel for the process. It's also helpful to think about what your precious one loved best. Richard adored books and birds, that was a good starting point for me, even though ultimately we ended up with a single blackbird. I still think it's one of the finest stones I have ever seen.