Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Funeral Flowers

I like to send flowers to the family when someone dies, even though the obituary says " lieu of flowers." I often send the flowers directly to the home rather than the funeral home.

I like flowers; i like to receive flowers. So i just assume other people do too.

In order to support local businesses, i go to and type in "florist" and the zip code where my friend lives. Then i call and order cut flowers rather than an arrangement.

I try to remember the death date so i can send flowers again on the anniversary of the death. The rest of the world will have mostly forgotten that dead person, but the family member re-members.

Funeral flowers remind us of the impermanence of life. One day, one year, we are in full bloom. A few days or years later, we start to wilt. And finally death and the compost pile.

Flowers don't have person-hood, so we can easily see how decaying compost gives rise to new life. When it comes to people though, our attachment to person-hood, to "self" interferes with this simple, straight-forward understanding.

A friend who had a heart attack and a near-death experience said she looked down at the carcass on the table--the carcass she had formerly called her "self."

How are our physical bodies really any different from flowers?

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