Updated: Jul 26, 2019
I HATE FLOWERS.
Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it’s true that I have a love-hate relationship with flowers since my 8-year-old son, Garrett, died.
In North American society, flowers have become a typical gift in the event of tragedy. When Garrett died, we were given hundreds of flowers. In the beginning I loved them for what they represented—an outpouring of love and support from people who wanted to do something but didn’t know what to do.
As the weeks went on those flowers slowly began to die and I started to resent their presence in my home. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but they began to cause me anxiety that didn’t really understand. They were a constant reminder to me that Garrett’s life was cut short, just like those flowers.
I realize that this admission may seem odd to you, but I’m telling you anyway for a couple reasons.
For one, I am grateful for those flowers because they inspired me to write my book After the Flowers Die: A Handbook of Heartache, Hope and Healing After Losing a Child.
And for another, the positive response to my book led me to co-create Treasured Chests—The Gift Box Every Bereaved Mom Needs.
I know many people who love the beauty of flowers. Both of my grandmothers had flowers in their kitchens every day because it made them happy. I know a woman who sent flowers to her office every Monday morning because it provided her space with some beauty. And there are many research studies of flowers that show they can help lower stress and many flowers have healing properties.
I do not dispute any of those things. I just do not believe that sending flowers to a bereaved mom is appropriate.
While flowers are beautiful at memorial services, they do not provide comfort in the overwhelming days and weeks that follow. Bereaved moms need to know they are not alone, they need to know their child will be remembered and they need to be provided some methods of self-care.
Gifting a Treasured Chest accomplishes all of those things. Even if a lot of time has passed since your friend lost a child, she will still appreciate the gesture. In fact, it may feel more meaningful knowing that you haven’t forgotten.
Melanie Delorme is a bereaved mom who helps other grieving parents navigate their grief, so they feel less alone and can find joy again.
She publishes a Monday Mourning Message on her Facebook page for bereaved parents. Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/AfterTheFlowersDie/