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Sincere Emotions Misinterpreted From Fake Flower
From:
Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death, Funeral Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Albuquerque , NM
Monday, June 11, 2018

 

Red RoseWhen a funeral director picks up a deceased’s body at home, a nursing home, or sometimes even a hospital, some make a thoughtful gesture of leaving a flower on the person’s recently-vacated bed or pillow. Some use fresh flowers, others may use artificial (but long lasting) flowers.

This Dear Abby letter writer brings up a powerful consideration for funeral directors. If you’re giving bereaved families flowers, should they be fresh or fake?

DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law died a month ago and was cremated by the local affiliate of a prominent funeral home. To make it easier for my sister, I accompanied her to the mortuary to pick up her husband’s remains. I walked in alone, and as I returned to the car with his urn, a young funeral home employee in a black suit and scuffed shoes followed me. Through the window of the car, he presented my sister an artificial red rose and said, “We’re sorry for your loss.”

My sister and I were appalled by the insincerity of this gesture, and I called and told the funeral home director that the sentiments were as phony as the rose. He said, “I thought it was a great idea,” and couldn’t understand our reaction. Were we wrong? — RESENTING PHONY SENTIMENTS

DEAR RESENTING: Yes, you were. When people are grieving, emotions are sometimes raw, so I’m not going to scold you. However, your response to the young man was ungracious. All that needed to be said was, “No, thank you.”

The Doyenne of Death says:

I agree with Dear Abby’s response. Most good funeral directors do everything they can to help grieving family members. Presenting a flower when picking up cremated remains, even if it’s an artificial red rose, is a caring gesture.

Perhaps it was the youth of the employee? The fact that his shoes were not polished? The idea that the rose was artificial, even though it would not fade as live roses do?

We need to remember clients pick up on the smallest details. Unfortunately, this family misinterpreted the funeral home’s intentions. Your thoughts? Comment below!

Gail Rubin, CT, is author and host of the award-winning book and television series, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and KICKING THE BUCKET LIST: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

Rubin is a Certified Thanatologist (that's a death educator) and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the end-of-life and funeral planning conversation started. She "knocked 'em dead" with her TEDx talk, A Good Goodbye. She provides continuing education credit classes for attorneys, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, financial planners, funeral directors and other professionals. She's a Certified Funeral Celebrant and funeral planning consultant who has been interviewed in national and local print, broadcast and online media.

Known as The Doyenne of Death®, she is the event coordinator of the Before I Die ABQ Festival. She also hosts A Good Goodbye Internet radio show and produces Mortality Minute radio and online video spots. Her YouTube Channel features more than 400 videos!

Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association New Mexico Chapter. Her speaking profile is available at eSpeakers.com.

Gail Rubin has been interviewed about funeral planning issues in national and local broadcast, print and online media. Outlets include The Huffington Post, Money Magazine, Kiplinger, CBS Radio News, WGN-TV,  and local affiliates for NPR, PBS, FOX, ABC-TV, CBS-TV and NBC-TV.

Sign up for a free planning form and occasional informative newsletter at her website, AGoodGoodbye.com.

 
A Good Goodbye
Albuquerque, NM
505-265-7215