I am writing to you because you are an etiquette expert and I find myself at a loss not knowing what the appropriate etiquette is today because, thankfully, I have not had much experience with funerals.
My Dr. and dear friend died by suicide last week. You probably read about it in the New York Times. He was 65, a gay man without a partner, and no family except a brother he was distant from. He had so many friends and patients, that were also friends, and we all loved him.
One of his patients/friends is giving the funeral service tonight at Lincoln Centre for him. It is extremely generous of her to have organized everything.
I sent my own large arrangement and had my florist coordinate with her florist, who is doing the event’s florals, to keep on theme.
That aside I feel like I should send her a small posy of her favorite blooms and a note thanking her for stepping up during a time when we are all in shock. It is a huge responsibility to organize.
The only thing stopping me is that I don’t know her personally, only peripherally. In this situation is it appropriate for me to have my florist send a small discrete arrangement and a thank-you note?
–Francesca, NY, NY
What a shock for you and his whole community that the good doctor took his own life. He must have been in a lot of emotional pain. The flowers to the service are generous and quite enough for now.
About funeral etiquette flowers. My experience has been that during this time when emotion encompasses a broad range of feelings, reality has yet to set in. From the shock after the death of a loved one to the stress of orchestrating such an elaborate funeral service, it must be over-whelming for her. A well-meaning gift to the host of flowers can often be forgotten at this time. And is rarely acknowledged. On the other hand, one should never expect an acknowledgement.
A small elegant arrangement of posies sent to the host reflecting your condolences and gratitude, would be appreciated much more deeply later on rather than now.
In a week or two when matters have calmed down, would be better timing. And who knows, you might even find a thank-you note in your mail.
My point isn’t about the thank-you note, it is about understanding the confusion of emotions surrounding the death of anyone.
Also, on your enclosure with the flowers you can thank the host for organizing the ‘moving and elegant funeral service.’
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Accepting A Compliment