It’s a Matter of Life

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Why do we need to send flowers to a funeral? I mean, why flowers? Who was the guy that said, “When someone dies you send flowers?” Is it to distract the grieving family from the deceased in the casket? Actually the act of sending or bringing flowers to a funeral or viewing is not as “pretty” as you may think. It began hundreds of years ago. When a person died, the viewing of the deceased normally took place in the parlor area of the home. This area of the home then paved the way for the term “funeral parlors” in later years.
Chemicals and today’s modern methods of embalming did not exist, so flowers were placed around the casket to mask the natural odor from the body. Since that time, sending flowers has grown into an expression of your love to the family of someone you cared for, someone that has passed.
More and more people now request that “in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a favorite charity.” This is a very nice way of helping others. I have noticed over the years that people will call the mortuary and tell me that they read the paper and the obituary says no flowers but they feel like they want to do something for the service. My suggestion is to make that donation in memory of the person that has passed, and if you feel you want to do more, send living arrangements such as living plants or a small tree, something the family can take home and enjoy and watch bloom each year.

Kenneth McKenzie is a licensed mortician and owner of McKenzie Mortuary Services in Long Beach.