I have heard it said that Sympathy Cards, for some, are hard to make when there is need for one, so the recommendation is to make them when there's no actual need for one.
This week I needed to make one :-(
I found the design process actually quite a special time. As hard as it was to believe that life can slip away so suddenly, even when it wasn't unexpected, the reality is, we are confronted with the undeniable fact that now this life doesn't exist anymore in this world. While making this card, I found myself wrapped up in the thoughts of who this person was, the beauty within and without, and of all the many different ways she would be missed by all who knew her. These thoughts guided the design elements of the card. At one point I felt to use bright colours because when you saw Billie's smile, and she always smiled, you can't help but feel happiness and joy, that your day was brightened somehow. In the end I chose the muted pinks and yellows with a hint of lilac because I felt that it is more suitable as a sympathy card but also because it captures the peace and tranquility and the quiet strength that I have perceived was an essence of Billie's personality. If you look carefully at the picture above, you will notice the two butterflies punched out of vellum card stock. Subtle - as the overall feel of the card is, but also my description of Billie as a person who did not set out to draw attention to herself, yet was one that you couldn't help but notice because she was so "free" to be herself. Just like a butterfly. And free too, now, she is from the physical pain that she lived through so bravely in the final weeks and months of her life.
So my experience this week in making a Sympathy Card when I have need for one is that it was quite therapeutic, healing and helpful in the process of grief. Yes, it may take a longer time than you'd normally spend in making a card, but that time may just be what you need to process the reality of a loss that you weren't ready for. If you find yourself having to make a sympathy card for the family of someone you know/love, I hope you can embrace it and allow it to become as part of your grieving process.