Surveys of consumers and the recently bereaved were conducted to determine who sends flowers as a sympathy gift and when and why sympathy flowers are sent. Of consumers, 85% sent flowers as a sympathy gift at least once; similarly, 84% of the recently bereaved had sent sympathy flowers. Most sympathy flowers are sent to close friends (63%) and close family members (62%), and sympathy flowers are most often received from close friends (56%) and close family members (43%). Ninety-three percent send flowers as a sympathy gift immediately after notification of a death. According to our survey, sympathy flowers serve two roles in the bereavement process—an emotional and a functional role. Except contact of family and friends, participants indicated that receiving sympathy flowers to help deal with grief was equally or more valuable than all rituals associated with funerals.
Dept. of Animal and Horticultural Sciences, Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA 30149.