Occasionally an obituary will include the term “In Lieu of Flowers,” or “Please Omit Flowers.” For many, this request causes confusion, embarrassment and even resentment (since it is often interpreted as a how to for expressing sympathy). For the family, it is often used as a way to direct family and friends to a cause the deceased held in special favor or that the family feels is an important way to memorialize their loved one.
Flowers or Charity
So, which is right? Should it be, “In Lieu of Flowers,” or “Celebrate With Flowers?” The simple, yet ineffective, answer is both. Life isn’t simple, however, and without proper thought and execution, someone may be left feeling more than just the sorrow of losing a loved one.
The Best Of Both Worlds
Each side can still have it his or her way if one simple change in the obituary is made. Simply remove the words “In Lieu of Flowers,” and replace with, “For lasting memorials, the family asks that consideration be given to …,” or, “Should friends desire, contributions may be sent to…” This wording change lets the family express their desire without a disparaging remark toward any other form of condolence. This will allow the person to choose their preferred expression of sympathy without feeling wrong for doing so.
Why Funerals Should Be Celebrated With Flowers
When it comes to flowers and funerals, a long-standing tradition has been well established. Flowers were once used to mask the natural smell of the decomposing body. For a variety of reasons, the practice evolved into more of an emotional comfort and an acceptable way to express sympathy and support for the givers.
To really understand how and why funerals should be celebrated with flowers, we must understand what flowers can mean to those left to grieve. The Texas Florists Association created a great video demonstrating the significance of flowers at a funeral. Hopefully once you watch the video, you will be able to decide for yourself whether you prefer celebrating with flowers or another form of expressing sympathy. After all, the the best form of condolence is one that comes from your heart.