This isn’t the newsletter I was planning on sending out.
Plus it’s two weeks later than scheduled and for that I
Sadly, there was a very personal reason for the delay.
On June 27th my mother passed away. The matriarch of our
family, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and
friend to all…was gone.
As a funeral home marketing consultant I felt that I had
a pretty good grasp on the importance of a healing
funeral experience. I had worked with dozens of leading
funeral homes around the country to market and deliver
amazing funeral experiences.
But it’s one thing to understand the funeral process
intellectually. It’s another thing to experience it
This extremely painful event has COMPLETELY confirmed my
belief that a well executed funeral experience can be
extremely healing for a family. And it also confirmed my
belief that there is a huge business opportunity for the
firm that can package, market, and deliver amazing
Three days before my mother passed I decided to visit
the local funeral home where she had made arrangements
years ago. I wanted to see what they had to offer our
family. Did they have a plan? Could they give us an
amazing funeral experience?
They were a good firm. Not great…but good. Luckily
they were more than willing to add in some of the
details that I knew would make a huge difference for our
One of the details I requested was that they upgrade
their removal process by adding three elements. First,
drape the standard body bag with a quilt which we
provided, Two, make the bed. And three….place a live
red rose on the pillow.
The funeral director that I was working with seemed
puzzled by my requests but since I was the customer she
made careful notes and promised to take care of it.
I first heard of leaving a rose on the bed from my
funeral director friends Todd and Karl 7 years ago. The
majority of the firms that I’ve worked with around the
country also leave a rose on the pillow. Yet industry
wide it is far from an accepted practice.
My mother passed at home surrounded by family. A little
while later the funeral home van pulled up. My family
stayed in another room while they took care of her.
The crowning moment was when my sisters reentered the
empty room to see the rose lying on my mothers pillow.
The emotions overflowed…healthy tears that had been
chocked back for over an hour came pouring out.
Yes, it was an outpouring of grief but it was necessary.
We had to grieve before we could celebrate our mother’s
life. The rose acted as a catalyst to start the entire
process in a loving way.
Never underestimate the power of the rose…
I asked my sisters later why the rose meant so much to
them. They said simply….it was a statement of love and
it was alive. They also said that it told them that the
funeral home was going to take good care of our mother.
Over the coming days our family kept that rose as if it
was a precious gift. A psychologist could probably come
up with a detailed explanation as to why a rose works so
well. But for me…I don’t need an explanation. I know
it works because my family felt the power of that simple
Most funeral homes spend lots of money advertising the
fact that they “care”. But no one believes that kind of
self promotion. It’s really a complete waste of money.
But for less than $1 you can leave a rose on a pillow
and clearly demonstrate the fact that you really do
care. You’ve made an incredible first impression with
the family and you’ve set the right tone for the coming
And so…if you leave a rose now…THANK YOU…you are
making a difference.
If you do it sometimes…do it all the time.
If you don’t do…start doing it. Your families will
Remember, actions always speak louder than words. Leave
a rose on the pillow and let the family know how much
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