According to rigorous research, it has been found that sympathy flowers have a bigger effect on those in mourning than just honoring the deceased. Sympathy flowers have been found to give a warm feeling to a memorial setting as well as brighten a otherwise darkened moment. They have also been found to have a huge impact on the emotional well being of those in mourning. A behavioral research study done by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. of Harvard University emphasizes the calming and fortifying feelings that flowers create. Study showed that flowers do have a strong positive effect on ones emotions and that people are naturally attracted to them. Previous studies have proven that flowers do have a strong effect on ones emotional well being easing depression, anxiousness, and agitation when receiving flowers. They have also shown that those who receive flowers have a higher sense of enjoyment and life satisfaction. (Rutgers, State Univ. of New Jersey; Journal of Evolutionary Psychology)
The bereavement process is a high emotional time where flowers can play a huge role in easing some of pain during this time. There is a new trend in funeral planning with the use of “in lieu of flowers” where the family will ask that instead of sending flowers, those who want to pay respect to the deceased send money to a particular charity. However, in light of the benefits flowers can bring to a memorial service, it is hard to imagine one without them. Although the sentiment is nice in being charitable, it takes away those who want to pay respect to the deceased the ability to express their sympathy in a manner that is comfortable to them. For many, flowers are customary and what is comfortable for them to express sympathy for the loss of a loved one. For those who are in the unfortunate position of planning a funeral, a better phrase to use when incorporating a charitable contribution to a particular cause are “Donations may be made to (charity)”, “The family has designated (charity) for memorial contributions”, or “The (charity) Memorial has been established for those wishing to make a contribution” so the ability for those to express sympathy do not feel as if their hands are tied. This is not being stated to diminish the deceased or family wishes, just to give alternatives so those who feel the need to send flowers can do so as well without feeling as if they are showing any disrespect.