Frequently families will invite me, once a stone monument has been erected at the deceased’s graveside, to officiate at an unveiling. Many mourners have reported that they experience a feeling of continuity knowing that, after having officiated at their loved one’s funeral, I will return in service to their family once the headstone is in place.
How is an unveiling different from a funeral and interment? By the time of an unveiling, sufficient time has passed such that the sting of loss is lessened, allowing an even greater focus on celebration of the life of the deceased. The mitzvah (“command”) to bury is long since fulfilled and the memorial prayers have been recited. At an unveiling, we’ll come together to share memories about your recently deceased loved one, read some stirring passages and, ultimately, lift the veil to see and dedicate the newly erected memorial stone. At the conclusion of the ceremony, you’ll place a small stone atop the memorial, for the first time, as a sign of your affection for your loved one and as a symbol of your visit. Don’t be surprised when others do the same or, upon your next visit, you discover a neat pile of stones running across the top of the memorial stone.
The customary honorarium for my services at an unveiling in Nassau County is $1,000, and includes a suggested one or two meetings (either live or virtual) or telephone calls with me, review of the stonecutter’s template before inscription (upon request), and officiation at the actual graveside service. If applicable, travel expenses outside of the Nassau County area and lodging are paid for by the bereaved family.