It is rarely considered poor etiquette to send flowers to those who have recently lost loved ones, but there are some circumstances under which a different gesture may be more appropriate. Many people send flowers directly to a funeral home for display during the actual calling hours and funeral service, but others may choose to send flowers to the family's home several days later. Many of these flower arrangements are placed on the grave site as a final remembrance of the deceased, while live plants may be kept in the family's home for a time.
Before you order flowers for a grieving co-worker or friend, however, you may want to inquire about the family's expressed wishes. A number of families suggest donations to a favored charitable organization should be made in lieu of flowers. The specific details of such a request are generally included as part of the funeral announcement placed in a local newspaper. This does not mean, however, that you cannot send flowers as a gift separate from the requested charitable donation.
The days following the loss of a loved one are often a blur for the grieving family members, who must cope with a private loss while also handling a very public display of support from outsiders. When friends, distant relatives and co-workers all give flowers or prepare food, the attention can become overwhelming. There are some bereavement experts who suggest that outsiders should not send flowers as an automatic response, because some families are not emotionally equipped to care for live plants during a difficult time. The death of the cut flower arrangements may become yet another painful reminder of the fragility of life.
If you still want to give flowers to someone mourning the loss of a loved one, you may want to wait until enough time has passed for the gesture to have some significance. A bright flower arrangement filled with the deceased's favorite blooms could be well-received during a painful first milestone, whether it's a birthday, holiday or anniversary. You may also want to send flowers directly to the grave site on occasions when the family may gather together in remembrance.