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Expressing Condolences with Flowers – Nature’s Emotional Messengers

Sympathy floral arrangementWhen somebody we know loses a loved one, or when we ourselves encounter the pain of loss, sometimes there really are no words to express how we feel. We may find ourselves grasping for just the right thing to say, and sometimes, even when we have the best intentions at heart, we often still end up saying the wrong thing or we end up not saying anything at all.  It’s very hard to assuage the pain brought about by such a loss, but perhaps that’s where the power of flowers can best be seen. 

Sympathy flowers can be one of the most meaningful aspects of a funeral and they can best express the condolences that we all long to extend or the comfort and sympathy we long to feel.  Indeed, a study by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute shows that after friends, family and a good eulogy, flowers count as the most important and most meaningful of gifts. Sympathy flowers also show respect for the dead, as well as show support for the bereaved family and friends, especially when the sender cannot be present physically. 

A well-thought out flower arrangement can be a critical factor of funerals. It can brighten up a somber mood and provide a respite even for just a moment. Sympathy flowers come in all shapes and sizes. They can also represent various faiths and religious beliefs, such as the belief in eternal life, or the belief in reincarnation or rebirth. They can also come in a variety of forms depending on one’s budget. Sympathy flowers can come in table arrangements, bud vases, wreaths, casket drapes and standing arrangements. They can also reflect the personality of the one who has passed away. They can come in his or her favorite colors, flowers and styles.

The most popular sympathy flowers now are those that come in garden basket planters and fresh flower designs. They are popular because they can be moved more easily after the funeral and brought to the houses of the family to help comfort them further.

Aside from sympathy flowers, concerned friends and relatives may also choose food or fruit baskets which they can send directly to the home. Some sympathy floral arrangements include a wreath, which symbolize eternal life; a spray, which is really designed to be viewed from one side only and are most often put on top of an easel. There’s the traditional floral arrangement designed in a vase or basket. There are also flower arrangements designed specifically to adorn the casket, either on top or inside, usually chosen and sent by close family members.  During the funeral itself, larger flowers are preferred. These include flowers such as chrysanthemums, log-stem roses, carnations, lilies, snapdragons, gladiolas and larkspur. Smaller flower arrangements including flowers such as shorter roses, daisies and carnations are more suited for sending to the house.  

It is noble to donate to charities, churches, and other causes, but family and friends need to have the instant knowledge that their loved ones made a difference in this world.  The family might get a postcard in the mail a couple months later stating ” a memorial of $ was given in your Loved One’s name….”, but this will not convey, at the most pivotal time of grieving, what a family so desperately needs, flowers that are touched, smelled, and seen and offer instant peace.

Even during the weeks that follow a funeral, when friends and family have already paid their respects and have gone on with their own lives, sympathy flowers are still welcome, most especially when it  comes with a personal note of condolences and support such as “I’m here should you need my help. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know. Thinking of you always.”

5 Responses to “Expressing Condolences with Flowers – Nature’s Emotional Messengers”

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  5. You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,

    But the scent of roses will hang round it still.

    (A poem by Thomas Moore)

    For more rose poetry,go to http://www.allaboutrosegardening.com/Roses-are-Red-Poems.html

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