Some time ago, I received a public service announcement from an organization, I believe it was some floral association, which was campaigning to put an end to a phrase often used in obituaries – in lieu of flowers.
The argument the organization made is that one phrase was damaging its industry, as people discouraged the purchase of plants, bouquets and at times even trees to memorialize the passing of a loved one.
Geared toward much larger newspapers, the announcement was addressed to the obituary editor, as if the Gazette had one person totally dedicated to that editorial content.
It also made an assumption I think we need to make clear.
Obituary content is not written by us, and it never is going to be. I do not determine what does or does not go into an obituary (although there are some things, such as listing the songs sung at a funeral, that are going to be deleted if there are space constraints). We do some basic editing of those obituaries, but for the most part what you read is what has been submitted to us.
So, even if I wanted to eliminate the “in lieu of flowers” phrase, I could not, because I did not put it in there in the first place.
I know plenty of people who would prefer not having flowers at their funeral, and think the idea of taking that money one might use to make a donation to a worthy cause makes sense.
So, when it comes to this issue I can go either way. I understand the economics of the issue and am a strong supporter of local floral and garden shops.
Yet, I also think there are times when flowers can get to be a bit much, too. I recall when my mom passed away there were so many plants and bouquets we nearly had to beg people to take them. There was no way we were going to be able to take care of them, and, quite honestly, who in the midst of a sad time in their lives is going to remember to water the plants.
So, I would encourage you to thoughtfully consider the best approach to this issue based on the person you are honoring.
Remember, too, if you see the phrase in an obituary it is the preference of the family, not ours.
Speaking of obituary phrases, I have also been told by some that I use the phrase “blessed be the memory” too inconsistently.
Some people, they say, include that phrase, typically at the end of the obituary, while others do not have it. Why, I have been asked, do I not put it at the end of every obituary or leave it off entirely?
Page 2 of 2 - It’s for the same reason “in lieu of flowers” is included in an obituary – family preference.
I do not pick favorites if that is what you are assuming – blessing those I want to bless, and if the family wants it to be there it is going to be there.
The “Fragments of a Dream” pageant in Walnut Grove starts tomorrow night. It has been a very long time since I have been to see that show, and I think I might just take it in this year.
I have a fond recollection of sitting on the hillside and enjoying the performance as a kid, and I think as an adult I would enjoy it from a different point of view.
I encourage you if you haven’t been to the pageant for a while to take it in this year, and if you have never been to see the show you are definitely missing out on a great part of this area’s culture.
By the way, they spray for the mosquitos, too.