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In Lieu of Flowers: What to Give to the Bereaved


Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Mar 24, 2017

In Lieu of Flowers: What to Give to the Bereaved

For quite some time, sending flower arrangements and other floral gifts to the survivors mourning a loss has seemed like the obvious choice. In published obituaries, however, you often see the words, “in lieu of flowers,” because the blunt truth of the matter is that blossoms and blooms, no matter how beautifully arranged, don't provide much comfort to the bereaved. They can even get in the way or trigger grief. They don't say anything personal, nor do they demonstrate compassion or support. Of course, your intentions are good when you send flowers; no one wants to dispute that. However, it's worthwhile to consider a few other, more meaningful things to offer someone who's grieving.

Send Food Made with Love

As we've discussed before, food is a universally approved gift to give to the bereaved. Food—especially comfort food—provides something fundamental to someone who is grieving, sad, or depressed. That's especially true if you make the casserole, roast, or pie with all the love you have for the recipient. You're giving them something to show that you care, but you're also providing something practical and helpful during a time of need, exhaustion, and confusion. Flowers die, but food sustains. Think about making something instead of sending flowers.

Donate Time or Money to an Important Cause

Obituaries also frequently ask for money or donations to go to an important cause. This is a particularly popular request when someone dies from a disease or due to an illness. Even if the grieving family hasn't set up a place for donations or if they haven't linked up with a charity, you can donate money or time to a cause that matters or means something, especially with regards to the deceased. For example, you might want to donate to an AIDS or cancer-based charity, or you might choose to volunteer with people who have developmental disabilities. It's entirely up to you and your relationship with the departed.

Give Yourself, Always

The best thing you can do is send yourself. Your time is more valuable than a floral arrangement. The comfort and support you prove to people you love during difficult circumstances are worth more than gold. Even if you go over for dinner or stand as moral support during the viewing or funeral, you're giving so much more than you'll ever know.

Do you know of any other things you can offer the bereaved instead of traditional flowers? Please share your ideas and customs.