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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Flowers or Money

Nothing says "I’m sorry for your loss" like a big check written to “cash.”

Of course, flowers can be a nice, loving and thoughtful touch too.

The last funeral I went to was embarrassingly sparse. There were two appropriate flower arrangements. The third was something that must have been in a storage closet for when the nursery acts out "The Garden of Eden" during the spring when there aren't any good holidays to sing about in church.

The appropriate two arrangements were made with, of all things, carnations. Carnations! The Velveeta of the floral world! I just wanted to stop being sad and run outside and productively pick pansies or petunias instead. But my wife said if I was productive people wouldn't recognize me and might not let me back in the building. That and I was pretty sad.

I should have just run out of the church anyway to pull up everything I could find with a bloom on it for several quick arrangements to fill in gaps - which was the entire podium. I can do things like this thanks to having grown up with seven sisters; one with two heads, and all of them artsy.

Churches should have a store room of silk flowers for those times when someone forgot, or the sad cases when there aren’t many friends or family. I am hoping that in this case, with no flowers in the chapel, that the bereaved at least walked out of there with a purse full. It’s the least that should be done.

Just an FYI, a check is preferable. Most of the bereaved at a funeral are drugged to the gills. At least they are in my family. Of course, my family is drugged to the gills at most family gatherings. That is the only way you can keep us all together in the same building for any period of time without adding to the death count.

Cash is too anonymous. Folks may not remember who slipped them the meds, let alone the 500 dollar bill. A check says “Here is something to help you during this sad time.” It also says who the money is from at the top left so that she can write everybody a letter later about what a sweetheart you were to her as she watches an iceberg crash into the Pacific Ocean from afar on the cruise ship's Aloha deck on the vacation that she paid for with your $500 dollars. What a nice guy.

Now, I realize that you should not be giving gifts just so others will think you are the greatest. But is there a better reason? I know, I know...for the sheer joy of bettering someone else's life - for the simple feeling of peace and love that giving to others brings.

Uh-huh. Yup, thats good too. I also want the person to know that I think enough of them to give them a wad of money. Money pays bills, it buys diet Coke, ...and it pays the bills. It says "Its me that loves you enough to not be controlling about what color of carnations you are given to decorate your house with while you grieve".

Generally I dislike funerals - as opposed to my sister who loves them, thrives on them, has a collection of little black dresses for every sad occasion. She loves to make people feel better when they are low with a low neckline. And don't we all need to feel better at a viewings? She considers herself the fashion Florence Nightingale of funerals.

I guess it's sixes - except that I don't do little black dresses. I say just sign the darn check and let them be off on their Alaskan cruse.

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