After the death of a close friend or family member, those in mourning need a support system of people comforting and nurturing them through one of life’s most painful episodes. Most of us are anxious to find some way to help soon after we hear the news of someones passing. Nothing is more appropriate than the age old tradition of sending funeral flowers. Grief therapists agree that the rituals surrounding death, aid the grieving process.
Changing trends in how we commemorate deaths in this country has added some confusion about traditional funeral customs and funeral etiquette. Flowers have traditionally been sent to the funeral home for display during the viewing/visitation and funeral service. However, if no service is held, it does not mean that there should be no show of sympathy. In instances where there is no service, experts recommend sending condolences to the homes of the bereaved.
Cremations: Urns and cremation boxes can be accentuated with appropriate floral tributes. A small wreath or garland for these containers is appropriate and can even be incorporated into a larger floral arrangement. An array of coordinating baskets and sprays can also be placed around the container. When ashes are scattered on water, sympathy wreaths, loose flowers and flower petals are often tossed onto the waters surface.
Memorials: Places of significance, such as the podium where readings will be performed, a table displaying remembrances such as photos or special mementos and even a cemetery monument, can be adorned with flowers. Depending on the particular focal area, garlands, sympathy arrangements in vases or baskets and sympathy sprays are all appropriate choices. Just as flowers add softness and warmth to the surroundings, live plants displayed around an area can create a peaceful garden setting. Dish gardens and plants can be sent to the homes of family members of the deceased. Chrysanthemums or flowering shrubs such as azaleas are also good choices.
Ceremonial placement: A tragic death may be memorialized near the site where it occurred. Trees, markers, fences or other objects in the area can be adorned with floral decorations, such as garlands, wreaths or bouquets. Oftentimes attendees will place individual stems of flowers like roses at the ceremonial location.
At one time or another it will happen to the best of us. The funeral was today at 10 a.m. and you just heard about it. Do not despair. It is considered proper funeral etiquette to send flowers to family members of the deceased at their residences. In fact, it is appropriate to send flowers, plants and sympathy gifts up to a month after the funeral services. Some people actually prefer to send funeral flowers at a later date. Although the initial outpouring of sympathy is a great comfort, eventually the chaos subsides, friends and relatives return home and reality sets in. At this point, many people feel lost and alone. Consider sending flowers or a plant with a personalized sympathy card that reads Im here if you need me.” The bereaved will know you are still thinking of them and they can count on your support.
To make your funeral flowers particularly special, ask your local florist to create an arrangement that reflects an aspect of the deceaseds personality. A rustic basket of wildflowers incorporating branches and natural materials is a perfect choice to honor someone who loved the outdoors. You could request that the florist use the deceaseds favorite flowers or colors or a flower with special significance. Be prepared to give the florist a few hints about the person you want to memorialize. Highly-personalized sympathy tributes might even include a sheaf of wheat in an arrangement for a farmer or a ball of yarn and knitting needles for someone who liked to knit. Toys can be used for adults and children alike. For instance, a semi-truck could be added to flowers for a truckers funeral or a teddy bear for a childs service. You are limited only by your imagination. Almost anything can be incorporated into a floral arrangement, depending on the ability of your florist to accommodate your request. Whatever you do, the family is sure to notice your effort and appreciate it.