A funeral is a very difficult time for everyone involved. Family, friends, and loved ones gather to commemorate the deceased, and flowers are often brought or sent to mark the occasion. This requires a certain amount of sensitivity, especially if the deceased is young or a child.
Flowers have been used for spiritual purposes for much of human existence. They are used in almost every facet of life to celebrate births, rites of passage, courtships, and weddings, and often, spirituality is a method of coping with death, so it is only natural to use flowers as part of the practices to mark it. Here’s how casket flowers can help honor your loved one:
Know the Language of Flowers
Since funerals are such a sensitive time, you want to send the right message with the flower arrangement. While floriography, or the meanings assigned to flowers to send covert messages in courtship, was a Victorian idea to facilitate romance, all flowers have had meanings ascribed to them by folklore, mythology, and tradition. It is a good idea to know what each flower symbolizes, especially funeral flowers, so that you are giving the ones that have the most relevance between you and the deceased. You certainly want to honor the deceased one last time, and knowing the right flowers can prevent a lot of unnecessary stress and hurt feelings.
Use Tradition as a Guide
Different cultures also have different meanings for flowers. For example, chrysanthemums are used by Western cultures to honor deceased loved ones, but if the funeral is Asian in culture, tradition, or theme, this could be a huge gaffe. Color might also have different meanings across cultures, and even the arrangement of the flowers could have symbolic or spiritual meaning to the family. Always use the traditions of the deceased to help select the right flowers, and always respect the wishes of the family with regards to flowers.
Consider Your Relationship
Different arrangements of flowers are more appropriate for different mourners, so it is important to consider your relationship with the deceased. Was this a parent or grandparent? Was it a romantic partner or spouse? Was it a child? Was it an intimate friend or an acquaintance you didn’t know well? How you knew and interacted with the deceased is very important in determining what sort of flowers to give. If the deceased was, for example, a close friend who was married, you don’t want to give flowers that are normally the purview of a romantic partner. This is especially important since it is not good etiquette to send certain types of arrangements, as they are reserved only for immediate family.
Another great way to honor the deceased is with a live plant given to surviving family members. Grieving is not just about mourning a loved one’s loss. It is also about celebrating his or her life, especially if the deceased was very old or sick for a long time before passing on. Flowers are there to provide comfort to the living, and a live plant offers a way for this comfort to remain long after the funeral is over. This is also a very nice way to keep the memory of the deceased alive, especially if the plant was a favorite in life.
A Final Message
Any flowers being sent directly to the funeral should have a card with them, and a card should always be handwritten if you can arrange it (this can be done for you if you are ordering from afar). Conventions for how they are addressed are important, because this is the last chance you will have to say goodbye to the deceased. The funeral is the last time anyone will address the deceased, so any cards or flowers going directly to the funeral should follow this rule, while flowers being sent directly to the family should be addressed to whom they are being sent.
Funerals are somber affairs with a lot of bereavement and sorrow, especially as one’s relationship is closer to the deceased. This is the final time everyone will have with the deceased in the material world, and flowers are often the final message we send loved ones when they die. Make your floral message count by following the above tips, and bring comfort to the grieving in this trying time.