Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Funeral Flowers

Arlington National Cemetery

Two weeks ago, my co-worker's father died. He flew down to Tennessee to be with his family and my department immediately began collecting money to send flowers. Two days before the funeral, we got the name of the funeral home and the funeral arrangements. Of course, we couldn't be there, but we'd all chipped in for a huge bouquet to be sent.

The day after the funeral, the administrative assistant in our group said that the senior manager didn't think we'd have enough time to send flowers to the funeral home (wrong!), so instead, we'd just send them to our colleague's house once he and his family got home.

I was flabbergasted. Am I alone in thinking that idea was totally absurd?

I donated money for flowers to be sent to the funeral home in lieu of us actually being there. To me, the flowers were a show of respect; an acknowledgement that our company and our department specifically were trying to represent ourselves and show respect to the family since we couldn't be there in person. Why in the world would our co-worker want flowers delivered to his home a week after the funeral?

I know when my step-father died, it meant a lot to me that my department sent flowers. It showed me that they cared and were thinking of me and my family and what we were going through on that sad and difficult day. I voiced my opinion to the administrative assistant that I was very disappointed. She relayed the sentiment to the senior manager who then decided that instead of sending flowers to our co-worker's home, we'd send an edible arrangement. Somehow, to me, that's even more crass. Edible cookie or fruit arrangements seem more suited to celebratory occasions.

She missed my point entirely. I am very disappointed in how this was handled, but maybe I'm over-reacting. Am I wrong in thinking that flowers should have been sent to the funeral home as a sign of respect?


  1. I am not at all clear on why this person thought they couldn't get flowers there on time... BUT I think your coworker would appreciate the flowers no matter where they turn up. Wouldn't you?

  2. Maybe. He's a very pragmatic, no-fuss kind of guy. I don't think he'll want flowers at his house. I doubt he would have taken any plants home with him after the funeral.

    What bothers me more is that the money I donated wasn't spent in the way I wanted. If I'd known we weren't sending flowers to the funeral home as a group, I would have sent them on my own. While my co-worker may or may not have cared whether we sent flowers to the funeral, it was also meant to show respect to his now-widowed mother and everyone else who loved the man who died.

    Maybe I'm too old-fashioned...

  3. I agree that sending the flowers a week later doesn't make any sense. The important thing is that you tried to do the right thing, and you have to let them handle it their way. Julie