There seem to be many versions of this poem—or many poems expressing the same idea.
From Journal of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, Volume 34, 1925, page 56:
KINDNESS DURING LIFE
I would rather have one little rose
From the garden of a friend
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my stay on earth must end.
I would rather have the kindest words
[That can be said to me]*
Than flattered when my heart is still
And this life has ceased to be.
I would rather have a loving smile
From friends I know are true
Than tears shed 'round my casket
When this world I've bid adieu.
Bring me all the flowers today
Whether pink, or white, or red;
I'd rather have one blossom now
Than a truckload when I'm dead.
[*There seems to be a line missing here in the original. I have inserted a line from a different version.]