My father recently passed away and my mother received an inordinate amount of flowers at the funeral home and the house, even though we requested donations in lieu of flowers.
Is my mother required to send a thank you note to each and every person?
It just seems like a monumental task for her to perform considering her loss.
Dear (insert random phrase like “adjective in location”),
First of all, let me offer my sincerest condolences on the loss of your father.
Second, let me state my even more sincere disdain for the practice of giving flowers at funerals. I mean, what the hell is that all about? Sorry your family member died, I haven’t got an original thought in my head so I’m going to dishonor their memory by getting a named flower wreath just to show that I didn’t want to waste the time it might take to come up with something on my own.
There is no time that is more emotional, more important than the death of a friend or family member. The giving of flowers, when you should be remembering someone, just seems so disingenuous. Unless of course that person was a horticulturist or owned a flower and gift shop, then maybe.
It’s also a subtle nod to the materialism that pervades our culture. Like whoever gets the biggest bunch of flowers loved the departed the most. Bullshit. I call bullshit on the whole thing, the whole idea. It’s like saying, “Hey, I know you’re grieving right now, but I wanted to let everyone at the wake know that I can afford to drop a couple hundred bucks on a four foot metaphor for the fleetness of our mortality. That’s what your loved one meant to me, he/she has become in death an extension of my personal wealth.”
I’m a much bigger fan of the hand written note. When someone passes on all we have left of that person is our memories. What better way to show your respect and love for the deceased than to let their family know how much he or she meant to you? A dinner you shared, a moment of understanding, a time of laughter to brighten a sad day. Nah, screw that hon, let’s just get some flowers so we don’t have to actually say anything. Let’s get the “Eternal Rest” package, it’s on sale.
My respect goes out to you and your mother for suggesting the donation route. If people can’t be bothered to be original during this time of goodbyes, then at least suggest they be helpful to the rest of the world somehow.
Of course they didn’t listen though. Somehow this ridiculous tradition of meaningless flowers is so linked to funerals that regardless of how much you plead for people not to, they will still get them because they’ve been trained to. Like Pavlov’s dog, they hear Taps and they call the florist, drooling. So now your Mother is stuck with a truckload of flower displays that she’s got to hang on to or else seem disrespectful, and she gets to watch them wither over the coming weeks before she eventually has to throw them away and again be reminded of her loss.
Who came up with this sadistic ritual?!?
And to think someone might suggest that she has to send thank you cards?
She should send Hate You cards to anyone who sent flowers.
“Hey thanks for dropping all that cash on that Lily display, I’m sure my husband is looking down on us and smiling as I have to carry it to the car, from the car to the house and then from the house to the garbage can. I know his spirit is happy that his memory been reduced to a catalog page number and a dollar amount. Your support during this difficult time is appreciated.”
Thank You cards are a whole other subject that I wont get into right now. It seems rather selfish of a gift giver to expect a thank you. If they know you well enough they know whether or not you appreciated the gift. A thank you card is completely irrelevant.
I’m all for banishing the practice outright. My advice, no Thank You cards. Help me start this revolution. If anyone says anything or seems miffed at not being recognized for participating in this boorish and disrespectful practice of flower giving, send me their home address and I will write the most buttery piece of ass kissing that has ever graced a 3×5 index card expressing the world’s gratitude at their magnanimous gesture. Then I will fart on that card, seal it, stamp it and send it.
During this time, your mother should only have to focus on the memory of her husband. A culturally implied duty to those less close to him is insulting and cruel, especially when they didn’t follow directions.
PS: Serious about that stink bomb offer.
PPS: If you’re curious about what I want done at my funeral, check here: http://missedmanners.wordpress.com/2005/09/05/missed-manners-the-merry-go-round/