Thank you cards for flowers at a funeral, how many people expect them?

Or send them?

I’m asking because I spent my morning addressing cards for a friend who lost her husband. She wrote a note and signed them.

I’ve never buried a loved one, but I have had friends who died and have sent flowers/plants. Sometimes I get a card from the family, sometimes I don’t. I always wonder what to do when I do get a thank you card, should I thank them for doing it and then start an endless cycle of thank you’s?

I’ve never gotten a personal thank you card when I’ve attended a service, so why thank me for the flowers? (When we go to funerals as an invited group, think Patriot Guard, we often get a thank you card, but its to the group.)

Its much more effort to go to the service than to just order flowers. I guess I just don’t understand the custom.

Nobody should ever expect ANYTHING from someone when it comes to a funeral. The bereaved have enough to deal with without having to worry about BS etiquette stuff.

It’s old-school etiquette to thank someone for a gift, any gift. And sending flowers to a funeral is a gift, so…

Personally, I look on it as just one more reason not to send stuff to the funeral home, especially live plants/plaques/whatever. Not only do the bereaved have to transport it home and then find something to do with it, they’re expected to write you a note after. It seems more a burden than anything else, honestly, and the notion of further burdening someone who is coping with a death really bothers me.

Panda, that was my thought as well. My friend just lost her beloved husband of over 20 years, she shouldn’t have been worrying about sending thank you cards for flowers. She wanted to, so I helped her.

CCL I think that sending flowers and plants to a funeral is a sign of respect and caring to the bereaved. Arnold is dead, he could care less. Beth is alive and seemed to appreciate the red and gold flowers.

I’ve been doing this for way too long, so I know that when I call the florest, I will be asked if the plants/flowers will go home with the bereaved or go the the grave.

I don’t expect a note, I never do. It always surprised me when I get one, so I thought I’d ask people here.

How did your friend feel in writing the notes? Did she see it as a detestable chore? Or an opportunity to express her gratitude for friends who acknowledged her grief and sought to comfort her?

How did you feel in having the opportunity to lend some support of your own as your friend goes through this period of grieving?

How do you feel when your thoughts of commiseration are acknowledged? How do you feel when they are seemingly ignored?

Every rude person feels his rudeness is justified. You will never find an ingrate without an excuse at the ready for why you should overlook his lack of appreciation.

You and your friend are models of how a bereaved should acknowledge the condolences of one’s friends and how those friends can help ease the burden of doing so.

Look, if you’ve got it together enough to send thank you notes after a funeral, that’s a great and nice gesture. But to suggest that people who’ve just lost their beloved parent/ sibling/ child/ spouse should feel obligated to send thank-you notes lest they be considered rude is, frankly, bullshit. When my father passed away, very unexpectedly, it was days, maybe weeks, before we could even look at the cards and notes that came with the flowers.

On the subject of flowers, while I am not usually a flower person, I will say that it was nice to see all the arrangements at the funeral home - it was a tangible and visible expression of all the lives that my father touched over the years. And right now I’m sitting about 4 feet from a peace lily that someone (I don’t even remember who!) sent. It’s in a lovely white pot with a ribbon that says “Comfort”, and for whatever reason, it does comfort me to know that my son, who will never get to meet the grandfather that would have treasured him so, will be able to help me water this plant that came of his passing.

Why it does not exceed your capacity to tell this to me, some brusque, imperious asshole on the internet, but it does exceed your capacity to write that on a nice card and mail it to the friend who sent you the arrangement is surely beyond me.

The funerals I go to have a money box, when I put my card in the money box I am then given a little token gift. Usually something with a photo of the deceased.

When my husband died there was no service or money box. Some friends and family sent money though. I did write thank yous.

I don’t expect them, but I have sent them. Not only to the people who sent flowers or Mass cards, but also to everyone who signed the register at the wake. It may be just a Northeast thing, but around here, the funeral home provides printed thank you cards.

You seriously can’t understand why it’s easier to spend 30 seconds posting something on the internet than to write it out on a card and mail it?

People who are grieving don’t need to be saddled with any other obligations. Grief makes it hard to get up and face the day to do the normal things you have to do, let alone take on extra work to live up to the social obligations that others have forced on you.

I think for some people, writing out the thank you notes is cathartic or helpful for them. For other people, the grief is too much for them to handle such things.

I do not expect a thank you card, but if I receive one it’s appreciated.

Amen. How self-centered and selfish would someone have to be in order to be offended that a grieving person didn’t thank them for sending flowers to the funeral?

If there is any expectation that grieving people should be sending cards to all the people who came to the funeral or sent flowers, that is a custom that needs to die right now. I don’t think grieving people need any sort of perceived obligation to send thank you cards out and another reason to feel terrible if they don’t get their thank you cards out on time.

I used to agree with the idea that grieving people should be excused from all obligations. Then I lost a parent, and spent an afternoon with my mother and my aunt writing thank-you cards and keeping track of money given for the charity my mother designated, and I found it so therapeutic to have something to do, some real task to take my mind off the loss of my father. I had a very similar experience when writing cards after my mother’s death. I think feeling “obliged” to express gratitude to friends gave me a chance to think of someone other than myself, and to be grateful and proud that so many people had valued my parents. All in all, I wouldn’t be “offended” if someone didn’t thank me, but I think on some level it’s good for the bereaved to do this. And flatlined, I’m sure your friend was grateful to have you there to help her. You’re a pretty swell person, you know that?

Well, my dad’s been dead for a year and a half, now so it’s a bit easier to discuss my feelings about the situation than it was moments after I held his urn the for the last time, but I’ll keep your opinion in mind for the next time someone I love up and dies.

I completely agree that there are situations and people for whom writing thank-you cards is a cathartic or therapeutic or healing event. And I think it’s wonderful of flatlined to support her friend in this way. My only argument is with the idea of an “obligation” to write thank-you cards.

Think of it this way: if you care about the bereaved person enough to have sent a card or flowers, and there is a chance that writing thank-you notes might be a painful or burdensome obligation for them, why would you wish that they suffer additional pain during that time period? If you get a thank-you note, great! But if not, that’s ok too.

In the South, people flock to the funeral home with tons of food as well as send flowers. It’s very common for 20-30 people to be in the kitchen at any time chowing down on some fried chicken, potato salad, green bean casserole, homemade cakes and all sorts of other goodies.

It originally started to make sure the bereaved family had food and would eat to keep up their strength. Many families would also stay at the funeral home 24/7 with the body for 2-3 days until the funeral. So they needed food on hand. That was common in some areas here in Georgia as recently as 10 years ago.

Now the food thing is more of a social thing. Usually church and community members will have a nibble or two after visiting the family and viewing the deceased.

Local funeral homes always provide Thank You note cards to the immediate family after the funeral service. I am very much a supporter and believer in good manners and etiquette, but expecting someone who has just lost a loved one to send a thank you note for some freakin’ fried chicken is the antithesis of good manners and/or proper etiquette, in my opinion!!!

But we do it anyway. There’s a sign-in sheet in the kitchen for people to list what they brought and, of course, the cards from each flower arrangement. I’ve never sent one to everyone who signed the guest book.

Here’s how I circumvent this ridiculous ‘tradition’ when I send food and flowers to the funeral home- I send the food in a disposable dish of some sort and do NOT sign in that I brought anything, just leave it on the counter and walk away. I send flowers with a card signed- Someone who loves you and not my name. So no one ever has to send me a Thank You for either! :slight_smile:

Thank you all for your replies. My friend didn’t seem to think it was a chore, she talked to me about everyone she was sending cards to and seemed to really appreciate the flowers and plants. The funeral home provided very nice printed cards, btw.

I didn’t think it was a chore, either. She wanted to do it, I wanted to help. The fact that she shared happy memories with me as we did it was a huge bonus.

I was just curious about the custom and how wide spread it was.

Several times in the past few years, I have taken money to the funeral home to pay funeral expenses when I have known the family did not have the money to pay for a funeral, for example a teen who died in a car crash. Usually, I get a short note of thanks from some family member in the next few weeks. One time, after several weeks I got a note from the funeral home itself, expressing thanks on behalf of the family. I suspect it became clear the family wasn’t going to send notes so the funeral home sent them.

I don’t expect thank you notes for flowers or casseroles for funerals. but it is nice when you do get them, or even a verbal thank you. If I sent flowers or a gift to some distant location where I was unable to attend the funeral, I admit I would appreciate some confirmation that the flowers or gift had arrived, but it doesn’t have to be the closest family who writes the note.

For some people, especially highly organized types, it gives them a ‘task’ to do after the funeral is over. My best friend is very much an OCD, super-efficient, Type-A personality and he always makes very quick, firm decisions about everything and goes full steam ahead! But when his mom died in 2008 (she was only 60 and had just retired early), he couldn’t decide whether to stand up or sit down from one moment to the next. We had been best friends for over 20 years at that point and I had never seen him in such a state. I was so worried that I didn’t leave him alone for more than two hours for three weeks following the funeral!

One of the few low-stress, calm times I remember in the days following the service was sitting with him at her kitchen table as he wrote all of the Thank You notes. It was a tiny bit of “order” amidst total chaos for him!

If someone wants to send them, I think that’s great. But by no means should a bereaved survivor feel obligated to do anything for anyone but themselves and their immediate family!

It’s funny that you should mention sending flowers to a funeral in a distant location. If you just order them online or call it in to your local florist and they ‘wire’ it to a florist near the funeral location, they will send CRAP! They assume that you won’t be attending the funeral and many (not all) will take advantage of the situation.

So I look up a florist in the far-away city where the funeral home is located. I call them directly and I specify exactly what I want (usually white roses, Asiatic lilies and white snapdragons or something similar…but with NO freakin’ carnations or filler crap) and I tell them that I’ll be arriving the following day so I’ll double check it when I arrive! I usually get a phone call or email within a day or two of the funeral saying that the arrangement I sent was the most beautiful one there…it’s a great trick to use!

By the way= I’m don’t want or expect a call or email, but using my tactic gets that great of a result! :smiley:

Cub Mistress, you do have a very good point about letting people know that their gifts have arrived. Almost everyone orders online now (not me, I call the funeral home comfirm the time and day then ask for the number for the florist they like. I call that number and find a nice helpful human to speak to who always gets things done right. ) so its always good to know that the flowers arrived and were what was ordered.

The cash thing is kinda strange in my world. We always give cash to the survivor, but its hidden and private. We usually give all the cash to one person who will follow him/her into the bathroom while we all get quiet and lean closer to listen.

And, we do it as soon as possible, because cash is a good thing to have when dealing with all of the thousands of things that happen when someone suddenly died.

The Prez of Vice (VP of the club, but he likes that title better) got a gushing thank you note to the club, with no mention of money or how much.

That’s Beth, all class.