Flowers are a visual expression of love, sympathy and respect. They are a means of sharing the burden of grief, and they represent community support for the bereaved.
Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty, which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. Following the service, the bereaved are left with an indelible impression, or “memory picture” of the funeral. The more comforting the memory picture, the more easily it is recalled by the bereaved and the more vivid is the reinforcement of the reality of loss. Flowers do not wither and die in the mind of the bereaved; they are recalled time and again as indelible memories. Conversely, those who have attended service where there were no flowers, have expressed the feeling that something was missing, that the funeral was depressing.
Flowers also have a spiritual significance. They are symbolic not only of love and sympathy, but also of eternity and immortality. The fleeting life of flowers attests to the transitory life of man. There is profound symbolism in the very fact that flowers do not last forever.
Finally, flowers are not only for the living. They are also for the dead. Americans traditionally have expressed their respect for the deceased by sending flowers, which honours the dead and console the living.