Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"In Lieu Of Flowers"

All segments of the flower industry and in many ways the public are negatively effected by this little phrase. In recent years it appears more and more often in obituaries across the country. I contacted Jenny Scala at The Society Of American Florists for some information that we can all use to educate both Funeral Directors and Newspaper Editors about the phrase. She provided me with the following. If we all work together we can reduce or in some cases eliminate its use. Please feel free to copy and use it.

Here is some information that may be helpful.
 When talking with your newspaper about the "in lieu of flowers" phrase, avoid the topic of profits. Focus on the benefits of flowers in the grieving process. Otherwise, it could look like the floral industry is trying to profit from people's grief.
 Talking Points about Sympathy Flowers
    * It is never easy comforting a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one.
     * Many people want to express their sympathy and show respect for the deceased in a variety of ways, including charitable contributions, food donations, a helping hand, and cards and flowers sent to the family's home or to the funeral service.
     * Sympathy flowers have been a part of funeral and memorial traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. In ancient cultures, floral and herb essences were used to anoint the bodies of the deceased and aromatic flowers and greens were displayed.
     * Flowers add warmth to the service and provide the visible emotional support the bereaved need during this time.
     * If you've ever been to a funeral that is void of flowers, it is a cold and somber environment. A funeral without flowers is a sad, lonely, cold place.
     * Flowers honor the deceased person's life, express sympathy in a heartfelt way (providing a way to be there even if you physically can't be), and provide a warm, pleasant diversion -- something to talk about during the visitation and the service.
     * Flowers are something that can be there when you can't be, and we all know how they can express our feelings in so many ways.
     * Flowers can be a great source of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one, and should be regarded as an important gesture.
     * Recent research indicates that sympathy flowers may not only brighten and warm a funeral or memorial service setting, but also have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of the bereaved.
     * A 2006 behavioral research study conducted at Harvard by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., reveals some of the calming, fortifying feelings flowers create. The study reveals that flowers feed compassion and chase away anxiety and worries. Research participants lived with fresh flowers for just a few days and reported increases in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. Overall, people simply felt less negative after being around flowers.
     * Previous behavioral research by Rutgers University also found that flowers improve our emotional health, according to The Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. Research participants reported feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated after receiving flowers, and demonstrated a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction.
     * The bereavement process is a pivotal time when worry, anxiety and many sad emotions are present. With such compelling research that shows how flowers impact emotional well-being, flowers should be regarded as an essential part of the bereavement process.
     * In light of the emotional benefits of flowers, it is hard to imagine a funeral or memorial service without them.
     * For information on the behavioral research and flowers in general, please visit <>  .
     * In most instances, we have found that the "in lieu of flowers" phrase is used as a convenient, polite way to meet requests for memorial contributions and that many people just don't understand how important flowers are too the bereavement process.
     * Eliminating the "in lieu of" phrase when designating a charitable donation in an obituary or death notice leaves the expression of sympathy to the giver, rather than dictating what they should or shouldn't do.

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