Flowers are beautiful and versatile. They’re our way of saying “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Anniversary”, or “Just thinking of you.” And in times of loss and sorrow, flowers can say a lot more. Here, heartbroken florists share the saddest message they’ve ever been asked to write on a bouquet card.
1. Don’t forget about us.
My grandmother was a florist for many years. I used to go to the greenhouse with her all the time and watch her make these amazing flower arrangements. One day, I was visiting and she’s just got done making a stunning bouquet with a small card in the center. The card read, “Eric, I’m sorry to have heard of your recent tragedy. You’ll forever be missed by us all.”
Turns out Eric was just getting married – the arrangement was from his drinking buddies.
2. Wherever he is, I hope he’s still writing poems.
We had a standing order for a weekly bouquet. This was an exclusive shop in an affluent area, and the gentleman clearly had enough money to send something showy to his beloved wife on a regular basis. What struck me was that he would personally call in a new poem with each order. And these weren’t Shakespeare quotes, by any means. All were summoned from the depths of his own creativity.
I was tasked with painstakingly transcribing his weekly poem onto the card. They had been married for a long time, and you can imagine how these poems would have devolved into Cornyville.
Yet, he never missed a single one, while I was there. We all marveled at how he always took the time from running his large company to write a lovestruck message to his wife every week. He never had a secretary call in the order. I was always touched to take the call from that old guy.
Then one day, a woman called in with the poem. It was quite a bit different (perhaps lifted from a Hallmark card). As I filled out the order form, she explained that her father had experienced a debilitating stroke, and she would be providing the poetry from that point forward.
The deliveries stopped shortly thereafter.
3. Forever play buddies.
I once saw a card in some flowers at a little boys gravesite. Scattered around it were some of what I assume we’re his favourite action figures in life, and on the card (presumably from a brother or friend), “I keep coming to play with you but it just isn’t the same.”
Hit me right in the feels.
4. A heartwarming message from the other side.
I am not a florist, but a few years ago on the day before his mom’s birthday, my friend ordered her flowers. On the card he wrote something along the lines of, “Happy birthday, Mom! I’ll love you always.” And he died in the middle of the night.
The next day, in the middle of her mourning someone came and delivered her those flowers.
5. Take your flowers, you little brat.
Only slightly on topic, but I received an amusing card with a bouquet once. My mom had been dating this guy (we’ll call him Bobby) who absolutely spoiled her. I’m talking massive bouquets delivered to her office at least twice a week. By the weekend, her kitchen table would be covered in these elaborate, beautiful arrangements.
I came round to visit one evening & jokingly said, “Wow, what a spoiled little brat!!” The next week at work, I received a pretty little bouquet with a card that read, “Now you’re a spoiled little brat, too. Love, Bobby.”
I always wondered what the florist who wrote that out thought.
6. Justice for all.
When my friend started dating his boyfriend, I think they were going through a lot. He called a florist and asked her to write “Just us two”.
His boyfriend received the flowers saying “Justice II”. No name signed. He wasn’t sure if someone was after him.
They’ve been together for years now and this summer they bought a boat.
They named it Justice II.
7. Alright, who’s chopping onions?
My mom was a floral arrangement “specialist”. A young woman came in asking for lilies and rosebuds with baby’s breath. My mom put it together for her and asked what she wanted on the card. The woman replied, “To Lily, the breath of your baby shall forever bloom, in our hearts and yours.”
She told my mom her sister’s daughter died of SIDS the day before.
8. Sometimes we positively affect people without even knowing it.
Not a florist, but I once had flowers delivered to my office and the card said, “I know I will never see you again but I wanted to thank you for changing my life”.
I have no idea who they were from.
9. A special note says a thousand words.
My wife was a florist. I’ve seen her write messages many times. She was always an emotional girl, but tried to never show it. It even hurt me just watching her write letters to families that were in the hospital. Even if it was just a “Get well soon!” message, she wrote it multiple times just to get it right. Because she knew that it mattered a lot to that family.
I’ve also seen her write very happy letters as well. She always had a way with words, that’s probably why she has that job in the first place, along with her enjoyment of plants. She would always plant vegetables and flowers in the backyard, even now they grow vigorously. They’ve overgrown a bit to be honest, but I’ve been taking care of them.
I never had a green thumb like her, so I could never grow what she grew. I would just watch her and try to learn from her. Every day when she came home from work, she would always bring one flower from work to me. Sometimes they’re common carnations, other times they’re colorful orchids.
She would always have one letter on there that she would give to me.
“I love you.”
“I shine the brightest when I’m around you.”
“Don’t forget to grab the right pasta for dinner this time!”
Things like that. Sometimes it’s cheesy, sometimes they’re funny. No matter what they were, they put a smile on my face (continued).
But this isn’t about funny or happy cards.
Ranunculus was my wife’s favorite flower, she always talked about how she loved how it spirals in and how they could bud out beautifully. She always saw them as the “inner beauty” kind of flower, something always wanted. She never saw the fact that she radiated beauty both in and out.
The ranunculus, Those are the ones I put on her grave. She was the one that had a way with words, I never did. It hurts me knowing that I could never find the right words to tell her that I miss her, to tell her that I loved her dearly. She wrote a message to me every day, and I couldn’t think of one. The sight of flowers reminds me of her, and I feel pangs in my heart and an empty-hollow feel within my guts.
I feel even more grief knowing that I threw those letters away, thinking I will get more throughout my life, but just like that. She’s gone.
I can think of the words of pain and sorrow I feel when I think of her, but I can never write it to tell her, and I hate myself for it. My hands get shaky and I can never muster up and write to her, to tell her that I love her. Even now, I feel my hands get jittery from nervousness as I type this comment. She wrote with precision and meaning behind it, and I can’t even write right.
So, the saddest letter I’ve ever had to write, was none at all.
10. That flower was a part of her.
Not something I had to write, but something I experienced:
I take care of the orchids in a floral store and had a young woman come in, maybe in her early 20’s. She was very sweet, attentive, and wanted to know about everything we had, but eventually settled on an orchid. She was very excited about moving into a new home and had me help her find a flower that would brighten up the place. She listened very closely to the directions I gave her for caring for her new plant (it was a gorgeous plum & white blossom, and very hardy), and even had me write them down for her. I used store stationary and even wrote my name in the card & told her to come see me if she had any questions at all (continued).
About a month and a half later, an older man comes in with the orchid, possibly her father. He’d seen my name and the name of our store on the card & brought it back to us. The young woman had passed away in an accident shortly after moving, and he didn’t know how to care for the plant. It was in great shape, I could tell she’d been taking good care of it, but he didn’t want anything to do with it. He asked me to refund it and put it back on the shelves, as even with the directions he wasn’t sure he could take care of it, and even if he could, he didn’t want it around. I think it reminded him of her too much.
I have a small amount of oversight in the department, so I managed to trade him the orchids for a funeral bouquet that was worth a lot more. I was supposed to put the orchid back on display, but I couldn’t bear to. I got permission to bring it home with me, but even with all the care I gave it, it died a couple weeks later.
I don’t know if flowers can miss people, but part of me likes to think this one did.
11. The first cut is the deepest.
When I was in high school, my best friend’s mom owned the local florist shop. Small town, so everybody ordered all their prom stuff from her and she’d be up for days just filling orders. Me and my friend decided to help her out.
A little back story: I had been dating a guy for about 3 years. We were high school sweethearts. He was the first boy I ever loved. So anyways, he says that he can’t go to prom this year because his family is going out of town to visit his sister who is away at college. I think, ok no big deal.
But then, as I’m filling orders in the flower shop, I pick up the order form from none other than my high school sweetheart. Except it had a different girl’s name on it. There was no Note, but I was absolutely heartbroken. Even my best friend knew he was taking somebody else to the prom. I called my dad sobbing, who then must have called him, because he showed up about 10 minutes later to apologize and try to console me.
That was the first time a boy broke my heart and I’ll never forget it.
12. He wanted to speak to her after he was gone.
The florist didn’t write it, my grandfather did:
“Happy anniversary. I’ll always love you. Fife”
It was delivered on their 40th anniversary. Five months after he had passed from colon cancer. He had his son (my uncle) get the card and he wrote it a week before he passed. My uncle then saved it and sent it with the flowers my grandfather had ordered for her.
We found the card again when she passed away. She had kept it stashed in one of his old cigar boxes with a stack of other love notes he’d sent her through the years (most when he was overseas in WW2).
Fife was his pet name from my grandmother.
13. That’s one way to say it.
I was a trainee florist when I was 17. The saddest one I had was a phone order from a gentleman who wanted a bouquet of flowers with the note, “Sorry I ruined your life” to his ex lover.
14. Wait, who is this for?
Not really sad, but I’m sure it made the florist wonder. In Finland, it’s common when someone has a baby to get them a flower arrangement that consists of a large bouquet with a small bouquet tied to it with a ribbon. The idea is that cutting the ribbon is like cutting the umbilical cord.
Before he moved here and we got married, my husband lived in the USA. One Valentine’s day he called up a florist near my office, ordered one of those new baby bouquets, and had them write in English something like “Happy Valentine’s day. I love you.”
Both the florist and my coworkers were very confused when they delivered the flowers to me at work. Turns out, he had picked that bouquet because he wanted my daughter to get flowers, too. It was sweet and a little weird at the same time, much like him.
15. Even a day can be a lifetime.
Only here for a day, however his memory will live forever.
Unfortunately this was a close friends baby who lived for 9 hours after birth before passing away. I cannot even begin to comprehend the pain that they felt, 9 months of eagerly waiting to meet their first child and it’s all just ripped away. They have three kids now, but no parent should have to bury their child.
16. Love never dies.
A man paid for flowers to be left at his wife’s graveside once a month. Always wrote, “I love and miss you” on it. Not the saddest thing to write, but just the idea of it. He always called to make sure we didn’t forget, too.
17. It’s not just a business.
Besides working for a bank for three years and college I’ve spent my entire 28 years in the flower industry. My mom has owned a shop since I was two, my dad owned a greenhouse, etc. It’s the family business.
The saddest thing I can think of? There’s too much. The mother whose six year old dreamed of having a fairy tale wedding… when she died of cancer she gave her a fairy tale funeral.
The families that take flowers to their infant’s grave. It’s between twenty years but they’re still just a baby to them. Words on an enclosure card just can’t describe sadness like I’ve seen.
I’ve met with families to discuss funeral arrangements countless times. I’ve seen deceased people weekly, if not daily since I was a little boy. These people are friends and family, members of my small community. It takes an emotional toll. I’m sure to some florists it’s just business but not to us.
18. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
My mom once sent me flowers with a card that said, “Hope this isn’t the nail in the coffin.”
Why you might ask? Because even though my mom ordered a bouquet with NO ROSES, the last time, There were roses in the bouquet. I’m allergic to roses. Turns out the next bouquet still had roses. Both were supposed to be get well soon flowers after a series of surgeries I was having.
The second time she called to complain because her order said on it NO ROSES, but the place essentially said they did substitutions (because the bouquet she picked had like some super seasonal flower) at their discretion, and she could eat it. She did a yelp review and they changed their tune… by sending a new bouquet to me, OF ROSES. After that we just had to laugh. I mean, I get the roses are expensive and that’s what most people want, but really? REALLY?
19. Such kind and generous words.
A friend of mine whose fianc passed, mourned for several years. Found a new fellow and are engaged again. They go on the deceased’s grave site on what would be his birthday every year.
The new guy brings flowers that say, “I will never know you, but I know who you loved and while I’m sad you’re gone, for his sake, I’m glad I found him, for mine.”
20. Wise and beautiful words.
A somewhat related story (i.e. a sad quote). My brother died of an extremely rare disease when he was seven years old. I was two at the time. About a year or two ago I came across a memo my dad wrote for the expat community to inform people of the loss (we were living in Tanzania at the time). The part that hit me the most was:
A life, no matter how short, is a lifetime.
21. He went too soon.
My shop used to do funerals. We had a couple come in once and they just did not seem all there, taking the order was very difficult but eventually we got them sorted out with a nice little spray-blue arrangement for a casket and some blue and white standing arrangements.
Turns out they had just lost their 4-year-old son and were actually fresh in our shop from the funeral home where they choose the casket. We got orders the rest of the week from their friends and relatives with cards like “heartbroken for you” and “he was the sweetest boy”.
Having seen them as they went through it made every card hard to write.
22. A little bit of comedic relief.
Our family got a cat when I was in high school, and he died of kidney failure when he was about 8. He loved my mom more any ways, his name was Tucker.
My husband and I sent flowers to my mom at work, but the florist must have misheard me over the phone because she wrote, Were sorry about Puckers and we love you.
My mom said when she got the flowers it put the biggest smile on her face and she started laughing, and she wasn’t so sad about him passing.
23. The woman two rows over.
Not a florist, but this most recent Memorial Day was the first one without my grandpa. It has been a family tradition to all go to the cemetery and lay flowers on the great-grandparents graves and this was the first one where grandpa would be joining that list. The flower selection at the store was pretty picked over (which is what happens when you wait to buy flowers the morning of), but with my floral design skills I picked up practicing arranging flowers for my upcoming wedding, I was confident I could arrange something pretty for all three headstones.
At the cemetery I am arranging the various bouquets… mom, grandma and the aunts are losing it with grief until they noticed this little old man two rows behind us. He looked so sad. He was kneeling at a grave, tearing up as he tried to stick a rose in the little flower jar often installed with a headstone (continued).
We learned that his wife of 60 years died a few days before grandpa and that he wanted to keep the roses he brought fresh looking and watered. He told us that he wasn’t good at that sort of thing and he doesn’t want to embarrass the memory of his wife by having dead flowers on her grave. He didn’t have any family in town and it was getting harder for him to do things. His wife had been why he got every morning and he was afraid that when he died, no one would put flowers on her grave. We just couldn’t let that happen, not on that day.
So the aunts and my grandma talked to him about his wife while they watched my mom and I created a 4th little bundle of flowers to add to his failing roses. I recut the stems, added some of our flower food to the water and created a pretty little bouquet for his wife’s headstone. We promised that we would look over his wife’s grave too, and make sure that her flowers always looked pretty.
Now every Memorial Day, we will honor my great grandparents, grandpa and the woman two rows over.
24. He made the right choice.
I had a guy come into our shop to send flowers to his SO. I asked what he would like on the card, and he said, “Can you put ‘Sorry you were such a jerk last night. Can we have sex now?'”
I told him that I’d write whatever he wanted, but that it might defeat the purpose of sending the flowers. He opted for, “I’m sorry and I love you.”
25. Tragedy doesn’t have good timing.
The florist I work at prints the cards and we don’t have to hand write them. The sympathy cards are always sad, but the worst one I’ve read was something along the lines of, “I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother so soon after the loss of your parents.” I upgraded that arrangement a bit and I know it wouldn’t make the situation any better, but I wanted to make sure the flowers they received were extra nice.
26. Sounds like the beginning of a Sherlock episode.
Not necessarily sad, but weird. After my dad’s funeral, we were looking at the various arrangements and the cards. A rather lovely one came from my dad’s old boss.
Nice, except he had supposedly died 3-4 years earlier. He went off the grid, nobody heard from him, eventually everyone in the business said he died.
Never did see him.
27. Always keeping tabs.
Different kind of sad, I guess, and the card itself was actually fine– Just the usual sappy little love note, signed by “your secret admirer.” The guy came to one of the shops, and paid in cash.
When the delivery came, the girl at the door panicked and started crying, demanding to know who it was from. Our drivers don’t have that information, but stayed with her and tried to console her while the main shop was called and payment info was checked. Since he didn’t use a card, we couldn’t have told her even in a best-case scenario. We had no info at all. She didn’t want the flowers, so the driver brought them back.
Eventually, the shop was contacted and asked to go through their security camera footage, because the girl evidently had a long-term stalker who she had moved to get away from. Don’t know the end of the story, unfortunately, but I always was relieved when the “secret admirers” I dealt with paid with a credit card.
28. Right in the feels.
I helped a cute and quiet boy and his father make an arrangement and they had “Happy birthday, mommy” on the card. I told the boy, “I bet your mommy will LOVE this. Give her a hug with it, too!”
The boy teared up and said he didn’t think he could make his hug reach heaven and he hoped she could see the flowers on her grave.
29. Roses are red, violets are blue.
My mom used to have a flower shop many years ago, and I worked there for a couple years. One of our clients at the time told us that he loved his girlfriend (and soon to be wife), but he cheated her and he needed the biggest arrangement available to ask for her forgiveness.
When I asked him what he wanted to write on the card, he told me: “Can you write it for me? You do that everyday, right?”
I just copied and pasted something from the web.
30. One sentence is all it takes.
I worked for a florist delivering flowers all through college.
The saddest was a delivery of yellow roses I made to a notably attractive young lady. The card said: “I hope he’ll love you as much as I did – and still do …”
She just stood there, reading the note back to me, and then she burst into tears. It’s something that made a lasting impression on me.
31. It hit close to home.
I started working as delivery driver for a florist about a month and a half ago. The saddest one that I can remember was for someone who lost their dog. The card said something about how he will be missed and he lived a good long life, it was from a family member I think. After that I went home and hugged my dog.
32. Get ready for a feeltrip.
My grandfather who was in the hospital told me to buy a bouquet of 46 pink roses for my grandmother. My grandmother couldn’t get out of the house because she couldn’t walk anymore. My grandfather was diagnosed with a terrible disease and was about to die soon. We didn’t tell grandmother because she could die of an heart attack if she heard. She thought he was staying for control and scans…
So I bought the flowers. My sister asked my grandfather if he wanted a note with it. My grandfather wrote something, we told him not to write something that would emotionally literally kill my grandmother.
I asked my little brother to deliver the flowers, I had to go to work, so did my sister. My grandmother ‘read’ the card and called my mother and said, “Your father is really staying long in the hospital, when does he come back?
The same day my grandfather died and my mother didn’t know what to say. She said something like “Mom, I am sorry.” She hung up.
That evening after getting the news of my grandfather’s death we went to my grandmother’s. She was counting the roses. She hadn’t read the card yet apparently, or so she would make us believe. “Forty-six roses. Did you buy this for me?” she said to me. I said no. Then she started crying. “In all my life, he never even once bought me flowers. Yet he knew my favorite flowers all this time.”
What my grandfather wrote on the card: “Thank you for everything. I’m sorry to go before you and make you sad. Many love.”
Forty-six roses because two months after his death, it was their 46th anniversary.