Exotic Flowers in Boston
I am huge baseball fan. Every July from 1979-1985, my favorite day was the Major League Baseball All Star Game. It was a rare treat to watch the best players in baseball all on one field. In every one of the those years, I got to see my favorite National League Catcher in the game. Gary Carter was even the All Star Game MVP in 1981 and 1984. He was a part of one of the greatest throws in All Star Game history when Pirates right fielder Dave Parker gunned down the Angels Brian Downing at the plate in 1979.
Carter was much more than a Hall of Fame baseball player. He was a Hall of Fame person. From his countless autograph requests that he fulfilled, to an infectious enthusiasm and impeccable character. Carter was someone you would want your kids to look up to.
"Today, the world of baseball lost a Hall of Famer, and I have lost a treasured friend. Anyone lucky enough to have been part of Gary Carter's world will agree ... nobody loved life in a bigger way than Gary. He seized every opportunity to savor what mattered most to him: his close-knit, loving family; meaningful, enduring friendships; an unbridled passion for baseball; and the fulfillment he felt from making a difference in his community. Gary's brave battle has ended, but his from-the-gut laughter will be heard and his vitality and spirit will be felt forever. I loved him very much, and I know he is finally at peace."
-- Davey Johnson, Mets manager from 1984-90, now manager of the Nationals
For Gary's funeral, Carter's family made a simple request that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to a select charity for children with autism. A noble gesture, but I feel they are missing a key component of the grieving process.
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, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF). The national floral trade association cites a 2006 behavioral research study conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., of Harvard University, that underscores the importance of flowers in our lives and reveals some of the calming, fortifying feelings they can create.
The Harvard study reveals that flowers feed compassion and chase away anxiety and worries. The 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.
The flowers are not only for the family, but also for the guests. The Carter family has been kind enough to share Gary with us all for decades. I feel that being able to send flowers would have helped ease many of his legions of fans grief. As you can see on stage, a few corny flower arrangements in baseball shapes and homeplates.
As a Boston florist, I would have chosen to put all those odd and mismatched flower tributes outdoors to greet guests. Each piece would have had its own significant position of tribute. A funeral tribute means so much to guests and the bereaved.
As a Boston florist who knows funeral flowers and felt like I knew Gary Carter, I would have created a stage scape of flowers going from one end to the other. The colors for Carter's funeral would have been bright just like the person. I would have chosen varying heights along the stage. I would have used roses and lots of them. Gerbera daisies and sunflowers too as they exude happiness, just like Carter.
I was fortunate to have Carter sign this card for me in 1984. Thank you Gary Carter. You will be missed, but not forgotten.
So when you read 'In Lieu of Flowers' for a Boston funeral, think twice. Millions of impoverished North Koreans know that flowers help ease the pain.
The following letter was written to SAF (The Society of American Florists) recently. The letter was recently published by Floral Managment Magazine. A funeral director's wife expresses her appreciation for sympathy/funeral flowers.
Quiet Ambassadors of Love
"As a funeral director's wife, I have often stood by others in times of loss and grief. When confusion and pain run so deep, words are intrusive and unwelcome - hearts are too full for anything but flowers. God's beautiful bouquets send thoughtfulness, reassurance and strength with their special perfume and color. They tell those who are left, 'we love you.'
Flowers are given 'in memory,' but they're a gift for the living! I tell people, 'Send flowers as often as you are able, and know that they will reflect your love - especially at a funeral home.' The saddest thing is a funeral without so much as a tiny bud vase whispering that someone cares."
- Bobbie Nelson
Bobbie Nelson strikes a chord with this note. She tells us all how important funeral flowers are. Even when the famiyl requestes a donation, the request does Not mean not to send flowers. You can often split the difference; $50 for flowers and $50 for the donation.
Flowers mean so much to so many. When singer Johnny Cash's wife, June Carter died; Johnny Cash asked people to send flowers as she loved them so.
Trivia: did you know that the casket cover at the top of the blog was shown at Michael Jackson's funeral ?
As a fixture in the Boston area, Exotic Flowers and Lombardi Florist have a major responsibility to our neighbors. On a daily basis, the Exotic Flowers floral designers create memorial and sympathy tributes. Funeral flowers represent over thirty percent of our daily orders. We send flowers to all the local funeral homes on a daily basis; including J.B. Johnson on Warren Street in Roxbury, Davis Funeral Home on Walnut Ave in Roxbury and on CUmmins Hwy in Mattapan, Lawler and Gormley Funeral Homes in West Roxbury.
Flowers are often the last gift one can send to the deceased. We suggest a lasting tribute. Flowers make an enormous difference at a funeral. Flowers are clinically proven to help ease the grieving process." It is never easy comforting a relative, friend or associate who has lost a loved one. People are often uncertain as to the best way to show their sympathy. Adding to this uncertainty are changing trends in how Americans commemorate the death of a loved one. Services are simpler and shorter. Viewing periods are now typically limited to one day, if they occur at all. A greater number of cremations have resulted in shorter or no memorial services.
Flowers have traditionally been sent to the funeral home for display during the viewing and service. However, this does not mean that there should be no show of sympathy if no service is held. Grief therapists agree that the rituals surrounding death are an aid in the grieving process. In instances where there is no service, experts recommend sending condolences to the bereaved person or family's home. " - www.aboutflowers.com
With over one hundred years in sales and floral design experience, Exotic Flowers in Boston implores its neighbors not to chance it with their sympathy orders. Funerals are a lasting memory and the staff at Exotic Flowers is the most experienced in dealing with many cultures and clients at this most difficult time.
There are no right or wrong answers to ordering funeral flowers. A funeral is an emotional time and the bereaved should not be forced into buying funeral flowers because tradition dictates they should. Studies have shown that flowers do help our emotional state however.
Flowers are clinically proven to lift the spirits, so we suggest that not only should a family have flowers at a service, but also suggest friends and colleagues to send flowers as well.
Unless an American Flag or other type of blanket or flag is adorning the top of the casket, then the bereaved's lineage should always do their best to put flowers on top of the casket. If a family has limited funds then we suggest pooling the available funds and having just a casket cover. The flower casket cover is the focal point of the entire service. From funeral home to church to cemetery, the floral tribute on the top of the casket is noticed by all.
The casket cover is the most common term for this piece of flowers and is usually ordered by the deceased closest living associate or family member.
One of the more famous casket covers in recent history was for Michael Jackson (see above). Michael Jackson's casket flowers featured Freedom Roses and Bells of Ireland.
Another famous casket cover was for singer Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra's casket flowers were an old fashioned blanket of white gardenias at $10,000. Because gardenias yellow so quickly, two flower blankets were created for the two days of services.
We want to thank you for the important part you play in helping bereaved families experience the comfort of sympathy flowers and to let you know what a pleasure it is to work with you.
Flowers continue to remain an important part of a funeral or memorial service. Whether a funeral is in Boston, Cambridge or Brookline, funeral flowers remain an important part of the grieving process.
The continuing use of the “in lieu of flowers” phrase in obituaries, which is a major concern for us. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how the use of this phrase affects our work to help people express their sympathy, and how Exotic Flowers and all local funeral homes might work together to minimize the use of the negative phrase. Our goal is to help you address any concerns you have about handling flowers and to best serve your needs. This will benefit both companies and, most importantly, our valued mutual customers.
We would be glad to come to your offices or welcome you to our shop for a tour. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at 617.247.2000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to meeting with you.