Traditional Expressions of Remembrance & the Contemporary Role of Sympathy Flowers
It is never easy comforting a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one. People are often uncertain as to the best way to show their sympathy. Adding to this uncertainty are the changing trends in how Americans commemorate the death of a loved one. Fresh flowers have been traditional for decades, and many now desire to send remembrances that will allow memories to live beyond the service. Memorial services today are simpler and shorter, with viewing observances now typically limited to one day, if they occur at all. Today, Eitel’s & Co. Florist is pleased to offer “Memory Expressions”(such as: Angels, Inspirational Throws, Willow Tree Collectibles, Garden Stones, etc.) that convey what words cannot always say.
Today, flowers are sent to funerals for a number of reasons. First, they are a means of expression. It is often difficult for those mourning a death to put feelings into words. Flowers are a visual expression of love, sympathy and respect. They are a means of sharing the burden of grief, and they represent community support for the bereaved.
Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty, which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. Following the service, the bereaved are left with an indelible impression, or “memory picture” of the funeral. The more comforting the memory picture, the more easily it is recalled by the
bereaved and the more vivid is the reinforcement of the reality of loss. Flowers do not wither and die in the mind of the bereaved; they are recalled time and again as indelible memories. Conversely, those who have attended services where there were no flowers present have expressed the feeling that something was missing.
Flowers also have a spiritual significance. They are symbolic not only of love and sympathy, but also of eternity and immortality. The fleeting life of flowers attests to the brevity of life. There is profound symbolism in the very fact that flowers do not last forever.
Finally, flowers are not only for the living. They are also in memory of the deceased. Americans traditionally have expressed their respect for the deceased by sending flowers, which both honors those who have passed and consoles the living.