Back in the day, before embalming was wide-spread, flowers surrounded the casket and perfumed the air. Today, it is no longer necessary to have flowers scent the air. And yet, there is something comforting about the presence of flowers at a funeral.
Flowers are beautiful. What an amazing way nature has provided for life to go on. The flower is the promise of the future for a plant. Flowers are cheerful. They are calming. When we are the recipient of a floral bouquet or arrangement, we feel cared about, loved, and comforted. Flowers are visual. They are tangible. Family and friends can see the love that was directed at the person who has died. They can see the love that is directed at them in their time of sorrow. So, why not send flowers? Send them to the funeral home or to the home of family members.
If flowers are not how you would like to show your condolences, florists can also offer non-floral expressions.
Many florists also offer a variety of statuary, memorial pieces such as crosses or even throw blankets. Call your local florists and let them assist you with the perfect item.
Another option is to direct the money people would spend on flowers to a charity or a cause that was important to the deceased. A contribution is a lovely gesture of remembrance. Cures can be found, treatment provided, lives saved or enhanced, through charitable contributions.
If you are the family member deciding what to do - donations or flowers - there is no real right or wrong. Maybe you accept any form of condolences. Allow friends and family to express their feelings in a manner appropriate for them. Instead of using the language “in lieu of flowers” in the announcement just say, “Donations to __________ will be appreciated. Flowers or expressions of sympathy may be sent to __________.” That way folks can decide on their own how they want to show respect and provide comfort.
If you are going to a funeral and are undecided about sending flowers, a memorial item or a donation, do what feels good to you. If you think the family is likely to be overwhelmed with flowers you might pull together a group of folks, neighbors, co-workers, church friends, the bridge group, and send one floral arrangement or gift from all. If a charity has not been designated but you would prefer to contribute in remembrance of the deceased, contribute to a cause that is dear to you.
There is no right or wrong, sending flowers or a contribution, let the family know they are loved and the person they loved and lost was important.