Jennifer Sparks shares, “Having worked for the floral industry for almost 20 years, I’ve talked with many family, friends, and acquaintances who question the practicality of sympathy flowers or are confused by the ‘in lieu of flowers’ phrase often seen in death notices and obituaries. Having been to my share of funerals I have seen first hand the healing nature of flowers during a time when words cannot express. But a recent correspondence from Bobbie Nelson, a funeral director’s wife, sums it up so beautifully I have to share her thoughts:
Celebrate a Love of the Warm Tropics at a Memorial Service
I recently received an e-mail saying “How many flowers end up at the funeral home and how many flowers did the dead person enjoy while they were alive?” This got me to think about both industries, florists and funeral homes. Quiet ambassadors of love, flowers, yes, flowers. As a funeral director’s wife I have had the honor of standing by others in times of loss and grief. When confusion and pain run so deep, words are intrusive and unwelcome. When hearts are too full for anything except flowers. They stand in their place and tell those who are left, we love them. We are thinking about them right at this moment in time. We care deeply.
God’s beautiful bouquets send thoughtfulness, reassurance, strength, filling the air with His special perfume and color. ‘How thoughtful’ the loved ones say as they read the flower cards, kindness of friends and family shining through. ‘Oh, this is from Aunt Jenny. She can’t travel now but she sent flowers.’
Can you see? Can you hear? Ambassadors of a Godly sort sent from hearts of love to hurting people everywhere…even at the end of our journey, letting the living know how much we care. The flowers are in memory, but they are for the living! So send flowers as often as you are able and know they will reflect your love and care, especially to a funeral home. The saddest thing I have ever witnessed is a funeral without so much as a tiny bud vase whispering ‘someone cares.’ “
I agree with Jennifer and Bobbie, and truly believe that the service is a real celebration of the person’s life, love and what they contributed to family and friends. So in addition to offering warmth and support, the flowers can reflect the unique qualities, interests, life work, or hobbies.For example, we have created memorial service arrangements with a golf theme
Celebrate an Asian heritage and a love of spring flowers with a specialty vase and a custom floral design
for an avid golfer on behalf of a friend who cared, and at another time, we inserted the message from family members in the form of a crossword tucked into the flowers for a woman who loved crosswords. And for a sports fan, lovingly created standing sprays styled in a mirror image in therms of the shape, and each one was the color of one of his teams (Phillies and Eagles). Tributes such as these often really capture who they were and celebrate it! The options are endless.
Jennifer adds, in closing: “And as for ‘in lieu of flowers’ in an obituary? Unfortunately, that buzz phrase is often automatically inserted without much thought when a charity is designated. An alternative phrase could be simply, “The family requests memorial contributions be made to XYZ Organization.” The reality is, it is highly unlikely that the bereaved would want a funeral completely devoid of flowers. So if your heart desires to express your sympathy with flowers, send them. Flowers are a thoughtful way to honor a beautiful life and they provide visible emotional support during a difficult time.”
Another way to express support is to send the flowers to the home in the form of a dining centerpiece or coffee table arrangement that will express your concern as family and friends gather, or once visitors have left, leave a lasting embrace.
Please stay tuned and check back for more tips, ideas and inspirations to come.
Used with permission, SAF member – original post found here.
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