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Cemetery Symbols: Epitaphs for the Living?

One of the most creative epitaphs I've ever seen! (photo Tui Snider)
One of the most creative epitaphs I’ve ever seen! (photo Tui Snider)

Inspired by a Microphone with Wings

To me, visiting historic graveyards is like opening a dictionary or using a search engine. While I start out with a clear idea of the information I wish to find, I’m nearly always distracted by other things along the way: a unique monument, a strange name, or in this case, a microphone with wings. Not to mention that I’ve never seen seen someone described as “debonair” on their headstone before!

Here’s the full epitaph for “Todd” Harith Rahman Miles a.k.a. MC Pradah Black: “Devoted Christian rapper, writer, poet, musician, and producer. He was creative, outspoken, upstanding, debonair, & optimistic. He will be missed & eternally loved. He may be from this realm, however, we will meet again.”

I felt like a stalker!

So, what happens when I get distracted/intrigued like this is that I come home and type that person’s name into Google! When I did that with Mr. Miles, however, the first thing to pop up was his Facebook page. And, judging from his status update, at the exact same moment I was snapping photos of his tombstone, he was out having lunch with friends. I’d neglected to notice that his headstone only has a birth date and not a death date.

In other words, he was still very much alive!

I toyed with the idea of sending Mr. Miles a message on Facebook, but what would I have said? “Hi! I visited your grave today and thought you sounded like an interesting person. What a surprise to find that you are still alive!” At the time, I just couldn’t think of a way to word such a message without sounding a bit creepy! So, I left it at that. (What would you have done?)

New Mindset: How should your epitaph read?

All accidental-stalker-stuff aside, I really like Mr. Mile’s approach to his epitaph. Rather than sounding like an after thought, it reads more like a declaration of who he wants to be and all he hopes to accomplish while alive.

I find that inspiring!

Have you ever thought about your own epitaph? What might it include if you were to create one as exuberant as Mr. Mile’s?

Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism:

I am currently creating a field guide to cemetery symbolism. Each Tuesday, I am sharing a small snippet from my upcoming book. It’s my goal to create a handy-dandy pocket guide for taphophiles, genealogists, ghost hunters, and anyone else interested in the historic graveyard symbols that have become forgotten over the years.

What symbols are you curious about?

Let me know in the comments if there is a certain symbol that you are curious about. Also, if you would like to know when the cemetery symbolism guide is available for purchase, scroll down and sign up for my newsletter! I look forward to hearing from you!

Want to read more?

To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best selling travel guide: Unexpected Texas.
For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best selling travel guide to haunted places: Paranormal Texas.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out: The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber. Happy travels!

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Tui Snider having fun on a Texas road trip!
Tui Snider having fun on a Texas road trip!

Tui Snider
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Published inBlog on Writing & LifeCemeteries & SymbolismHistoric CemeteriesTravel Photo Essays


  1. Jenna Jenna

    He’s gone on now to be with the Lord as of May 2021

    • Oh, gosh! He was only in his forties. I am so sorry to hear that. And I’m sorry for your loss! Thanks for letting me know.

  2. You should ask him, “Did you feel a chill at [the time you visited his grave]?, because I just walked over your grave.”


    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Oh, that’s perfect, Mark! I definitely need to reach out to this fellow now. :)

  3. That’s interesting that he’s still alive. Wonder what had him getting the headstone made ahead of time. Or is he really old, so it’s not that unusual?

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      I think he’s only in his 40’s, and I’m not sure when he bought this headstone. I’m beginning to think I need to just buck up and contact him – lol! (After all, he might type his name in Google sometime and end up here on his own!) :D

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