Having a tombstone while still living, definitely forces one to face their own mortality.
During my childhood, youth, and even as a young adult, I thought of death but only in regards to my relatives and ancestors. I don't know if it was an only child thing, but when I was a child, I use to sometimes wake up terrified that something had happened to my parents. My mother would always reassure me that they were okay and that I didn't need to worry. Then throughout junior high and high school, every time the phone range, I was fearful that it was someone calling to say that my maternal granddad had passed, yet when the call finally came during my senior year in HS, I still wasn't prepared.
In my 20s, like most young people of that age, I thought life would go on forever. It didn't phase me that I was already losing friends and classmates by the time of my 10 year HS reunion.
The first time I was forced to think about my own mortality was in my late 20s or early 30s. My mother called to tell me that she, dad, and my Aunt Martha had been discussing burial plots. At the time, my aunt wanted to be buried near my parents and mom wanted to know if I wanted to be buried next to them or did I want to wait, in case I got married. Mainly because I didn't want to think about it (I couldn't even think about their mortality much less my own), I told her I would wait. Eventually, Aunt Martha decided to be buried with her parents and brother (she remembered there was a fourth plot there) and except for mom giving me all the details about her and dad's plots, the subject was actually put to rest until 2007.
In 2007, one of my childhood friend's lost her battle with cancer. No questions were even asked this time. Next thing I knew I had both a plot and a marker. I remember the first time I saw it, I still didn't want to talk about it. But somewhere along the way between then and now, I've come to terms with it and now am always pointing it out to someone. I must say that it was still kind of freaky when I pulled it up on findagrave.com.
Acceptance of your mortality is something most of us will have to face. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up but living each day to the fullest with no regrets because tomorrows aren't guaranteed.
Till next time!