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A simple cup of coffee, a kind phone call, a thoughtful card. The care a funeral home provides doesn’t end when the service and burial are complete. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows the journey through grief can seem overwhelming and lonesome, but funeral homes offer continued support along the way. Many funeral homes have a grief specialist or a grief care coordinator whose job it is to reach out to those who have recently experienced a loss and to provide them with compassionate care during the weeks, months, and years following. This ongoing support helps individuals manage grief in healthy ways. The opportunities to gather and talk create a sense of community at a time that might feel isolating. Listed below are just some of the ways funeral homes provide valuable grief support.
Most funeral homes offer meetings for those who are grieving, and some even have separate groups for children and teens or for those whose loved one died by suicide. Grief support groups generally meet on a regular basis and are led by the grief care coordinator. However, these gatherings are not limited to one particular style or structure; there are more casual options available, too. For example, some funeral homes host weekly knitting clubs or card games, and monthly lunches at restaurants are a common offering for widows.
In addition to regular support group opportunities, grief care special events occur at different points throughout the year and are unique occasions for conversation, remembrance, and healing. These events can range from an informative seminar to a more lighthearted group painting session. A popular annual event hosted by many funeral homes is a holiday service of remembrance to honor those who have passed away each year. It is best to check funeral home websites or social media platforms for when and where these special events are offered.
Funeral homes provide many, many educational resources for those who have experienced loss. Most locations have shelves of useful books and brochures, as well as categorized lists of additional grief-related texts and movies. Grief care coordinators often send monthly newsletters or periodic emails. They can also direct individuals and families to many other organizations, events, and websites that are available to support those who are grieving.
Beyond hosting support groups, putting on events, and providing resources, funeral directors and grief specialists simply have more experience with death than most people. They are natural sources of guidance and encouragement, and, even after the funeral or memorial service is complete, they are still there to help. Contact your local funeral home for more information about the grief support they offer.
Flowers bring people joy, so it’s no surprise they are an integral part of many special occasions. We often think of poinsettias at Christmas, roses on Valentine’s Day, and lilies for Easter. It is common for weddings to feature stunning arrangements and for anniversaries to involve thoughtful bouquets. Funerals are no exception. Whether it is a lavish display of gladioli or a vase with a single yellow rose, flowers add beauty and sentiment to one of life’s most momentous events: death.
When someone I know passes away, should I send flowers to the funeral home or the family’s home?
Both are great options. Flowers delivered to the family’s home or place of work are often referred to as sympathy flowers and can be sent any time to show you are thinking of them. Those arrangements should be addressed to the family, and you might want to include a thoughtful condolence message.
Funeral flowers, sent directly to the funeral home, are very common displays at funeral and memorial services. Funeral homes make sending flowers to the service easy because most have an option to order arrangements through their website. All you have to do is choose and pay online. The system will automatically send your order to a local flower shop and have it delivered to the service.
If you plan to deliver flowers to the funeral home yourself, be sure to get them there with plenty of time before the visiting time or service begins. Also, keep in mind that funeral flower customs can vary based on religious beliefs and cultural norms, so you may need to take that into consideration.
No matter where you choose to send an arrangement, be sure to sign the card with your complete name(s) since the family may know many others with the same first or last name as you.
What if I would like to send an arrangement but the obituary says, “In lieu of flowers . . .”?
When the family includes a specific request for donations instead of flowers, it is best to respect their wishes. You could consider sending simple flowers along with a note saying you made a donation to the organization they listed.
What options are there for funeral flower arrangements?
There are casket sprays, standing sprays, baskets, wreaths, and other individual bouquet options.
How do I decide which flowers to send someone who is grieving?
Some find it heartwarming to send the type of flowers that the decedent most preferred. While any color of flower will be cherished, white and yellow are common choices. Many floral websites have a designated section for sympathy and funeral flowers to choose from, or you can simply ask the florist what they might suggest.
What should I do with the flowers after my loved one’s memorial service?
You get to decide what to do with a loved one’s funeral flower arrangements. Possible options include taking them home, leaving a few behind at a gravesite, giving some to family and friends, or donating them to places such as hospitals or nursing homes. You can also separate the arrangements into smaller groupings, and the opportunities for brightening others’ days with a beautiful bouquet are endless.
Also, before you decide what to do with the flowers, it might be worthwhile to take photographs of the arrangements to look back on.