Families are waiting nearly three times as long for headstones

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – If you have recently lost a loved one, you may be aware of how long it is taking for family members to see the headstone get put into place.

For many families, waiting up to nine months for the marker is common right now.

After a family member dies, most people get an urn, headstone or other item to remember the deceased by.

Kevin Kirby, the Warren County Coroner, says with the COVID shutdowns, headstone orders from China and India are delayed.

“It started over in India and over in those places when the COVID hit and that’s when the blocks started getting cut and the mining wasn’t being done over there. That put us behind. And then, we finally started getting some. But now, the transportation problems with truck drivers and getting them off boats, that’s all come in to play now. So, it’s just kind of a train wreck where instead of just one car going off tracks, there’s four or five off the track got to get them right and back up,” said Kirby.

And for the slabs coming from quarries inside of the United States, the worker shortage is impacting how quickly the rock makes its way to the gravesite.

Wayne Pils, a memorialist for Keith Monument, says some families are having to wait six to nine months to see the completed headstone placed at the gravesite.

“That’s always a shock, even upfront, when you tell them it’s going to be 6 to 9 months to get that monument in. But most families have understood that, but it doesn’t make it any easier for them. I mean, it’s things that are out of our hands. But hopefully things start to get a little bit better. I don’t know that it’s going to get better soon, and I’ve even been telling families that we just don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring,” said Pils.

On top of all of those issues, once the marker is delivered to the monument stores, they are having trouble getting ahold of the stencils to do the actual carving into the rock.

Pils says if you are pre-planning a funeral, you may want to go ahead a pre-order your stone.

“Preordering is always easier than doing it at the time of need. When somebody passes, you have a lot of emotions and it’s always a difficult time to make those decisions versus prior if you can come in and make those decisions yourself and not leave it to your loved ones to do, it’s always easier,” said Pils.

And this issue isn’t just here locally, it is being seen all the way across the nation.