Funeral arrangement is a serious business. Yes, death is a business. If you don't believe it, go ask how much it cost to organize a funeral. Ask for the cheapest and you will be surprise how expensive death can be. Why is it so expensive? It is expensive because someone needs to make a profit. If you were to buy flowers to decorate your living room, the same flowers will cost you more if you were to die. Does this mean we are worth more when we die? If you think about the death of Michael Jackson, he was worth more in death than when he was alive. Yes people cried when they heard about the news. They bought flowers and did the moonwalk but that was all about it. It is always about the living.
How you arrange your funeral is a lot dependent on where you live and the culture to which you adhere. Some have been able to plan their funeral in the face of an impending death. Flowers play a major role in the ceremony. Others did not have the time to plan their death hence; someone has had to make that decision. At times, funeral parlors have suggestions on how to arrange things. You choose the option that best matches your budget. Your beliefs and heritage will also determine if you celebrate life or death. Recently in the news, there was a lot of talk about the embalmed biker displayed in a funeral house with flower carefully placed. Some people were mortified and others thought it was a great way to go. It was trendy, but very unusual. Death is supposed to be somber and a time for meditation. If the most of us could avoid going to funeral we would. However protocol demands that you show your respect for the dead. In reality the respect we show is for the living family members and not the dead.
In France, it is customary to applaud when an artist (musician, painter, singer, etc) dies. Friends and well wishers gather and cheer as the casket is being carried out to the burial ground. This is a way to celebrate the life and achievements of the deceased. In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh's were buried with all their belongings because of the belief in the afterlife. It is thought that their personal belonging will be needed in the afterlife. Basically, death to ancient Egyptians was not the end but the beginning of another life. We don't know if flowers were also place in the tombs of the Egyptians.
In the Muslim world, burial is simple; the deceased is wrapped in white linen and placed in the grave. There are no flowers placed on the tombstone. Does it mean that they do not love the deceased? Would laying flowers on the grave and putting the defunct in a casket show we care more? This just highlights the fact that funeral arrangements and flowers are cultural and the practice you adopt will depend on your religion or tradition..
In western world, that might be considered undignified (wrapping someone in white linen) but death is always devoid of dignity. The only time people are wrapped in white linen is during mass burials. There is often no time for protocol and the fear of diseases far outweighs any ceremonial proceedings. This shows that the living who make the decisions think more about themselves than they do about the death.
Why would you put flowers on a gravestone? Is it related to appeasing the dead? Do the living find comfort in knowing that the dead are not forgotten? What comfort do you get decorating a tombstone with flowers? If the dead are unconscious of their surroundings, what is the point of making it pretty? Some questions do not have an easy answer. Nevertheless, placing flowers or wreath on tombstone is like many traditions that we adhere to, but never question. We have been conditioned to think that is the only way to lay someone to rest. There are many stories linked to death and tombstone decorations. Most of these are linked to the afterlife. In modern times, some people claim not to believe in life after death. However, burial rites do show that we subconscious do believe in another life. Some tombstone inscriptions mention heaven as the final destination. Other stories claim that the deceased is now an angel looking down on us. No matter what your reasons are for placing flowers on a tombstone, you just know it is something to be done.
Unfortunately, some people have spent more money on burial decorations than when the person is alive.
Emotional spending is what normally happens during funeral arrangements. You might feel the need to honor the dead by spending outrageous sums of money to show how much you love that person. It is difficult to understand when funeral arrangements are based on love or just emotions and a showy display of grief. If you look at the role our emotions play in many decisions we make in life, we realize that it mostly doesn't make sense. Take for example buying a pair of designer shoes from Louis Vuitton. Most women would love to have a pair of those designer shoes. The fact that it is called designer shoes shows that someone actually put some thought into it. The regular shoes you buy from your high street stores are also designer shoes. Someone did think about it, and took the care to produce the prototype. Does it make it any less worthy? It does not, but expensive designer labels appeal to your emotions. If you were to sit down and look at it from logical point of view? You will realize that no pair of shoes is really worth more than fifty dollars. Designer labels sell not just shoes but a dream. If you were to bring this analogy back to funeral arrangements and laying flowers on tombstones, you will realize that when someone dies, it is not worth spending a lot of money on the dead. No matter how much love you might have for the deceased, it is still better to spend money on the living rather than the dead.