In the past two years, I lost both of my parents. My Father was in his late 90’s and my mother was in her mid 80’s and they lived with me until they died. Both of my parents loved flowers and gardens, but often had very different tastes as to what flowers they enjoyed most. When it came to the time of planning the memorial services, I wanted the service to reflect their lives. I spent a great deal of time researching flowers and their meanings by color and species. I was truly amazed at the choices that were available in flowers, and the lack of information that was actually addressing my interest.
I found that the meanings that were associated with certain varieties of flowers made some varieties of flowers seem much more appropriate and meaningful than others. I found the Alstroemeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily, has leaves that grow upside down and twist and turn as they mature and symbolize how friendship and lives twist together and bond over a life-time. Carnations were always a favorite of my mother, especially pink carnations. She loved the long lasting fragrance of the carnation as well as the belief that the flower first appeared on earth as a result of the tears of the Virgin Mary. They are the symbol of undying love and embodied my feelings for my mother. In ancient Greece, the Goddess Iris was the link between heaven and earth. Purple irises have, for hundreds of years, been planted over the graves of women so that they could summon the Goddess Iris to lead their souls to heaven. The statice flower, which was a favorite of both of my parents, is also known as sea lavender.
The bright color of the leaves and the flowers makes it popular with florists in bouquets. I wanted it at my parents memorial services because in the language of flowers it symbolizes remembrance. Tulips represent elegance and grace, two things that my mother possessed. They also have special meaning according to their colors. For example, yellow tulips represent cheerfulness, white represent forgiveness and purple represent royalty. The red tulip is said to represent perfect love.
My parents had a wonderful life together. Their union lasted over 70 years and when my father died, I knew in my heart that my mother would follow very shortly even though she was in very good health and enjoyed life to its fullest. I wanted flowers at their funeral memorials that truly symbolized their lives together and what they gave to our family. The stock flower is the flower of choice for that sentiment. A symbol of happy life and contented existence, the stock flower is native to Southwestern Greece and the Mediterranean.
Many florists are very well versed in flowers and their meanings and sentiments. The time of year and the part of the country that you live in will have an effect on what flowers are readily available, but many can be ordered from different parts of the country and delivered within 48 hours.