What words can you say - Sympathy Flowers

Published: Sunday 9 April 2023

What words can you say - Sympathy Flowers

Arranging flowers for bereavements and funerals is something very close to my heart.

It is a humbling experience working with the natural beauty of flowers and creating tributes in honour of a life well lived, while providing subtle comfort to those who are grieving the loss of someone they dearly loved.

I believe it is one of the most meaningful assignments a florist can ever do.

This floral tribute was designed some years ago for a lady who loved elegant flowers in pastel tones.  The family asked for an unstructured floral tribute with a rambling garden character.

Antique floral tribute for funeral


When I was delivering flowers to Wollongbar recently I heard an interview with Michelle Moriarty on ABC radio. Michelle is the winner of the WA Rural Woman’s Award for 2023 , and following the unexpected death of her husband, became a grief coach.

Michelle recommends asking someone “How are you travelling?” rather than “How are you?"  This gives the person a number of options when answering rather than requiring an often painful, personal response.

If you would like to hear the interview, here's the link Michelle Moriarty - the right words in sad situations


This led me to think about the messages people ask us to write on the cards we deliver with sympathy flowers.

At Alstonville Florist we create floral designs for sympathy every day, knowing that giving flowers is a very traditional way of expressing condolence and showing support to someone who has lost a loved one.

Flowers have been used for centuries as a way of conveying heartfelt emotions when the right words seem impossible to find.  Sympathy flowers are given as a physical reminder that others are thinking of the recipient in their grief, and also acknowledging the fleeting nature of life.

While there are many different options for sympathy flowers, wreaths have been used to represent the circle of life since ancient times.

Green and white are traditional colours for sympathy floral designs with the white flowers representing elegance, reverence, purity and eternal love; and evergreen foliage representing the victory of the eternal spirit over death.

This wreath does not need any words to convey its message.

Traditional Sympathy Wreath White and Green

Bearing in mind Michelle’s words, when you are writing a card message to go with your flowers we suggest you keep it simple and include a heartfelt message. 

Here are some ideas and remember it likely to be more comforting to the recipient if you personalise your message.

  • Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time
  • Sending our love and support during this sad time
  • You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
  • I’m here for you if you need anything.
  • We send you our heartfelt sympathy and wish you comfort and peace in the coming months.   
  • We are very sad to hear of your loss.  
  • . . .  was a very special person and we will all miss him/her.  
  • We will treasure our happy memories of the times we spent with ....


Most people choose to send flowers prior to the funeral, however some of our customers choose to offer their personal condolences when they first hear of the bereavement and send flowers a few weeks later.  The funeral is over, family may have gone back to their homes, and while things may have settled down the sense of loss is likely to be intense.  Your gift of flowers at this time will let them know you are thinking of them ... and may be familiar with the path they are travelling.  

Alstonville Florist has regular flower delivery to Alstonville and Wollongbar, as well as twice daily flower delivery to Ballina, Goonellabah and Lismore. We can also organise flower delivery to Lennox Head and Bangalow and nearby rural areas. When required we deliver to most addresses in the Northern Rivers, including churches and cemeteries.

We work closely with several North Coast funeral homes including Guardian Funerals in Ballina, White Lady Funerals, Simplicity Funerals in Lismore and Parkview Funerals in Goonellabah and Ballina. 

If we can be of assistance, if you have questions or would like advice about the most appropriate funeral tribute or sympathy flowers, please get in touch. 

It would be our privilege to help you at this time.

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