I don’t want to put anyone out of business or cause some poor man or woman in the local “call center” to lose their job, but I think we need to stop spending money on flowers for funerals. I’ve always thought it was a silly practice. And FYI, when I die, please do not kill a flower for me! Go plant a flower in your garden, or better yet…read on.
The custom of piling flowers on a casket originally had a practical purpose- to mask the odor of decomposition. Not a pleasant thought, but absolutely true. Embalming was not always available, nor used. It is said that President Andrew Johnson’s funeral might not have taken place except for the mounds of flowers placed on and around his casket.
Flowers have also traditionally been sent to funerals by people who could not attend in person.
Flowers are offered as a remembrance of the deceased and as comfort to the living.
Flowers make a funeral pretty and less depressing.
That being said, they are also ridiculously expensive and don’t last.
I’m very much in favor of the charitable contribution in lieu of flowers. I don’t care if you donate money to the local library, school, park fund, animal shelter, or rehab center. I don’t care if you donate money to cancer research or the cure for Alzheimer’s. That money is invested in something lasting and meaningful. My mother died eleven years ago and there is still a book in the library with her name on it. There is a person enjoying a better life because money in her name was contributed to the local scholarship program.
Yes, I’m thinking of this today because I attended the meeting of the Caddo Education Foundation last night. I was disappointed to see how few people were present at such an important event. We have over forty seniors graduating this year and the foundation will be able to offer only twelve scholarships. Don’t get me wrong- twelve is a wonderful accomplishment and more than we provided years ago when I was a more active member of the group. But if people would just give a little more thought to their priorities and think about the long term effects of their spending, we could provide assistance to any senior who wishes to attend college. It’s in the best interest of all of us if our children face the future with a good education!
I have been told that some people are offended by the phrase “in lieu of flowers” because the giving of flowers is such a strong tradition and holds such sentiment for them. Also, they just don’t like to be told what to do and how to grieve. On the other hand there are some religious groups that openly discourage the practice of giving flowers. To each his own. I’m not trying to start a world-wide movement here…just asking you to think about your situation and your relationship the next time a friend or loved one dies. It’s not about you. What would they want?
Have a blessed day!