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Funeral etiquette (somewhat ventish)

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mom of 2 posted 6/13/2014 19:58 PM

All is IMOO: If the obit states "in lieu of flowers...", then do not send flowers. If "in lieu of flowers" you are given charity choices, then donate to the charity. The family will NOT know how much you donated, just that you did, so don't worry about the amount.

If you do make a donation, make sure you write on the check, or include a note stating "I am making a donation in memory of 'xxxxxx' and the contact info of the next of kin so you can be properly thanked.

For example, "Please accept this donation in memory of Jane Doe. An acknowledgement can be can sent to Jane Doe's family, at 111 Main Street, USA".

osxgirl posted 6/14/2014 10:05 AM

Having seen how things with with my Dad's funeral a few years ago, I agree completely. My mom asked for donations to be made in lieu of flowers. Most did, but some sent flowers. I understand why it happens - some were from close family who wouldn't have felt right not having flowers there from them. And I'm guessing most of the others were ones that got the news by word-of-mouth, and they didn't actually read the obituary before the funeral.

But dealing with them after the funeral was a pain! They can't be left at the cemetery (at least not right away). They are usually these beautiful arrangements, and you feel guilty about just throwing them out. Some were actually live plants. We had to fill two vehicles with them, take them back to my parents' house, and then all of us stood around trying to make sure we got all the cards so we could do thank you cards, and then we were desperately trying to figure out what to do with them. We gave some to people in the church we though would enjoy them, took flowers out of some and put in vases, and still had to throw away quite a bit.

As upset as we all were, dealing with that just seemed overwhelming at the time.

SisterMilkshake posted 6/14/2014 10:23 AM

For anyone in the future who don't know what to do with plants and flowers from a funeral or memorial service, you can bring plants and flowers to nursing homes and assisted living apartments (probably even hospitals). They love to have plants and flowers around to brighten things up for their residents.

hathnofury posted 6/14/2014 10:26 AM

Totally agree. One of those things you can't fully appreciate until you have BTDT.

I second the above posts and further suggest if you really want to help someone who is grieving, offer to help transport the flowers and plants that inevitably arrive anyway. Come to the funeral with a tarp for the inside of your car. Also be prepared to take some flowers home with you (or better yet, to a nursing home to bless others) if it is too much for the people to bear to look at post-funeral.

Phoenix1 posted 6/14/2014 15:37 PM

BTDT. Because of the major pain of dealing with flowers after the fact, we always do the "in lieu of" thing and list a charity we feel would be important to the deceased. But not everyone reads the obit, so they show up anyway. Some will do both flowers and donation.

After my FIL passed several years ago, we had lots of flowers. Because he was under hospice care we asked them if they would like them for their in-house patients. They were thrilled to get them. They break up large arrangements to spread the love. A few years later we did the same for my mother. With DS they went to the VA hospital.

The real pain comes in transporting them, and as hathnofury said, offering to assist the family with that task is gratefully appreciated!

movingforward777 posted 6/14/2014 22:08 PM

I work at the Continuing Care Centre of our hospital. We receive some beautiful flower arrangements/plants from the funeral homes because the families ask to send them to us. Usually it is from the family of a patient we have looked after, but occasionally we do get them without any card and they are from random families.
We usually will take them apart and put them into several smaller vases to use around the ward or in the dining room. Nothing is worse than seeing a huge "funeral arrangement" sitting on the desk if your loved one is in the process of dying on the unit.
We are always grateful for the flowers, and our patients/families enjoy having them around too.

I usually make my "donations to charity" through the funeral home. They have cards that they fill out to give the family stating a donation has been made in memory of their loved one, as well as a card you include with your donation giving the charity the correct information to send "thank you's".

FinallyHappy posted 6/15/2014 03:55 AM


Differences in the states, regions; I suppose.

Around here, the funeral home takes care to transport the flowers to whatever place might want them. It's part of their fee. NOT left for the family to do.

I know on my part, I do send flowers when I know someone died if I don't know them well and if not advised otherwise. I don't seek out the obit, and perhaps that's wrong?

Ah well, I'm probably too old to change. Sending flowers is a sign of respect to me.

dameia posted 6/15/2014 09:59 AM

I send flowers and make a donation.

When my dad died last year most people did flowers and donations as well. After the funeral the funeral home asked where we would like the flowers. We kept a few and donated the rest to local nursing homes. The funeral home to care of the transportation.

solus sto posted 6/15/2014 10:41 AM

There are some who feel very strongly fhat sending flowers is an important part of funeral etiquette. IME, when "in lieu of flowers" is specified, many of these people both send flowers and make a donation.

The thing about death is that its effects are far-reaching. If a friend or family member or colleague derives some sort of peace from sending flowers, it's really okay. Any church or funeral home is delighted to deliver unwanted flowers to nursing homes and hospitals nearby.

We all grieve differently, and customs vastly differ. And flowers, while unimportant to you, may be an important thing to someone else.

We did "in lieu of" for both my brother and mother. The flowers we received were beautiful. The donations to the ACS were, too. Most flower senders also made a donation; they just wanted a beautiful display to celebrate a loved one's life. The funeral home took the flowers immediately--while fresh and beautiful--to the hospices where my family members had received loving care.

allusions posted 6/16/2014 12:36 PM

I remember seeing the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. The practical side of me saw those tons and mountains of flowers piled up and thought "if they had contributed the money they spent on flowers to charity, what an impact it would have made", but I also understand that many people have a need to show their grief by sending flowers.

carnelian posted 6/16/2014 19:22 PM

I read some forum thing once where it was clear that the poster did not know what "in lieu of" meant. This could also be an issue.

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