Looking up lists of epitaphs on the net I was not surprised to discover that the majority are framed in terms of denying the finality of death e.g:
• ‘Death is the golden key that opens the palace of Eternity.’ (Milton)
• ‘He hath awakened from the dream of life.’ (Shelley).
Much reference is also made to the dead ‘resting’ or ‘sleeping’
• ‘Rest on thy sheaves. Thy harvest work is done’.
• ‘Weep not she is not dead but sleepeth.’
There are also repeated references to the dead meeting up with the relatives that have outlived them:
• ‘One by one our hopes grow brighter as we near the shining shore,
for we know across the river wait the loved ones gone before.’
Without wishing to deprive the grieving of the solace of these conjectures I couldn’t help wondering how it all reconciles. When will the dead have time to sleep or rest (often expressed as an eternal affair) if they have to start by catching up with those that have preceded them followed by those that follow?