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Old 05-26-2013, 08:20 AM   #1
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Default Can sympathy cards be too blunt?

Good morning. I'm looking for an opinion. I'm using a memory box swan die. I'm planning to use it to make a sympathy card for someone who lost a spouse. If I make one swan a usual swan colour and make the second swan a black silhouette, is that...ok? Or is it insensitive by being too...visual... I'm really struggling with this and wondered what other more experienced card makers would do. Can sympathy cards be too blunt? I'd appreciate your opinion. I don't know how to use your website very well. Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:44 AM   #2
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Just my opinion, but I think I'd vote for a little too blunt. I'm curious to see what sort of responses you get, though, as I often feel at a loss for the right thing to say or do in this situation. But just imagining how I'd feel as the recipient, I think a card like you described would make me uncomfortable. (I think at a time like that, I would only want, and expect, rather plain generic flowery cards.)
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:02 AM   #3
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I am not that experienced yet but how about using a less stronger color for the second swan.

If the lost spouse was a male, go with light blue and if the lost one was female than some color in light pink or so.

Greetings to Canada from WA.

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Old 05-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BashfulStamper View Post
Just my opinion, but I think I'd vote for a little too blunt. I'm curious to see what sort of responses you get, though, as I often feel at a loss for the right thing to say or do in this situation. But just imagining how I'd feel as the recipient, I think a card like you described would make me uncomfortable. (I think at a time like that, I would only want, and expect, rather plain generic flowery cards.)
I think maybe too blunt. Swans mate for life - and I personally would be a little overwhelmed by a sympathy card with swans of any color if I'd just lost my spouse.

I think it would be better to go with generic, pretty flowers, trees, etc. I've seen some lovely sympathy cards with butterflies, too.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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I just made a sympathy card for a friend who lost her husband unexpectedly. I think sympathy cards are the hardest to make. I found a simple design googling. It used the flowers from Elements of style, done in midnight muse on white......

Yes, I think the image of two with one disappearing is maybe too much. But just my opinion. Again, it is hard to make a sympathy card. We can feel so much for the other person and imagining their pain. I am struggling with writing in it and have not mailed it yet.......

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Old 05-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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I just made a sympathy card for a friend who lost her husband unexpectedly. I think sympathy cards are the hardest to make. I found a simple design googling. It used the flowers from Elements of style, done in midnight muse on white......

Yes, I think the image of two with one disappearing is maybe too much. But just my opinion. Again, it is hard to make a sympathy card. We can feel so much for the other person and imagining their pain. I am struggling with writing in it and have not mailed it yet.......

Shirl
In cases of sympathy cards, which unfortunately I've had way too much experience of, since I'm getting older...I think it really is the "thought that counts."

People in the middle of grief are actually in a state of shock, and don't process details very well. I always just write a very simple message, like "thinking of you and your family at this difficult time" and sign my name.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #7
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If it crosses your mind that something might seem inappropriate, then it's just best to avoid it.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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When I make sympathy cards I stick to middle ground when it comes to color. Nothing too bright and never any black. For images I choose something elegant and serious.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #9
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I remember receiving a lot of nature themed sympathy cards when I lost my first husband. I still make a lot of them for others, trees, florals, butterflies etc. My personal opinion is to keep it simple and not allude to a missing spouse in the design. I think it is very sweet and special that you are making a handmade note as I know I treasured them.
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Old 05-26-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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I remember receiving a lot of nature themed sympathy cards when I lost my first husband. I still make a lot of them for others, trees, florals, butterflies etc. My personal opinion is to keep it simple and not allude to a missing spouse in the design. I think it is very sweet and special that you are making a handmade note as I know I treasured them.
Thanks for this post Winnie. I was so intent on letting the OP know what I thought about sympathy cards, that I neglected to let her know how nice it is that she wants to send a handmade card. I know it will be appreciated very much.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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I guess I would go with a single swan. That can say it without being too blunt. I have one I make using the Pendant Tree from SU, with the empty bench beneath the tree. I have picked up a few different phrases from CTMH and Verve for sympathy that I include with the front image. Soft colors.

I think it's the thought that counts. Knowing the people are thinking about you at a most difficult time is really the message any of us would want to send or receive.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:58 AM   #12
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I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to post my response to your question. I received a lot of sympathy cards when I lost my husband. What mattered most to me was what was written inside. But the outsides of the cards I remember were very soothing, with muted colors, with something drawn from nature. Butterflies were especially soothing to me. I didn't realize at the time that they are a symbol of rebirth and of the soul.

With that being said, I'm getting to the difficult part, and sincerely hope I don't offend anyone. I think 2 swans, one white and one black, would not only be too blunt, but would be offensive (at least it would have been to me.) With connotations of evil, death, depression, black is a color I would never use on a sympathy card.

With THAT being said, I think a handmade card would have been one of the loveliest things I could have received, especially with a thoughtful, hand-written note on the inside.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:38 AM   #13
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If you want to use swans, I would go with the single swan. Again, it's the message and the thought that counts.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:19 AM   #14
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Agree, I would leave off the black swan.

The recipient will be touched that you took the time to let her know that you care and are thinking of her.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:10 AM   #15
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I think using black is a little "creepy." If you're trying to convey the idea of her loved one "always being by her side," then perhaps vellum would work better in this case. I think the swans are a lovely image, as they mate for life, and I see where you're going with your idea. It's just that the black is a little harsh.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:28 PM   #16
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I say go with butterflies or flowers, vs. the swans.

Sympathy cards are such a bummer to make
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:55 PM   #17
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Having experienced a lot of loss, doing counseling on loss, it can be so difficult knowing not only what to make, but what to say. I have found, just like receiving flowers, the floral cards are nice and simple and don't bring up any additional emotions which are on the surface as well.

Simple phrases are the best, the Thinking of you, You're in our hearts, or thoughts and prayers, etc. are appreciated. But, if I heard it once I heard it a million times, the most offensive phrase people hated to hear, no matter how religious they were was "he or she is in a better place". When someone has just lost a loved one, their grief is telling them that person being with them is the best place they could be to ease that pain, not somewhere else. Even though it's something they may know intellectually, the heart is telling them something else and that's a big conflict.......

Good luck, these can be difficult, however they bring solace to the receiver, and it really is your thought that counts.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:53 PM   #18
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Wow, thank you so much for ALL of your responses!! I think every response is so valuable and gave me even more pause to think about the best way to say I care. You have all been so helpful! Thank You all again!
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:28 AM   #19
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I agree with the others. If you would like to use a swan, which I think is a beautiful choice, I would simply use one or even use them both but stamp/color them the same way. Besides the understanding that swans mate for life, and you are acknowledging their relationship as spouses, I find the image of a swan(s) to be a very peaceful and elegant one.

It's very sweet that you are putting so much thought into your creation and I'm sure it will be appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:13 PM   #20
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I would go with one swan and nothing black. Just too "in your face" with the black swan.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovetostamp3 View Post
Having experienced a lot of loss, doing counseling on loss, it can be so difficult knowing not only what to make, but what to say. I have found, just like receiving flowers, the floral cards are nice and simple and don't bring up any additional emotions which are on the surface as well.

Simple phrases are the best, the Thinking of you, You're in our hearts, or thoughts and prayers, etc. are appreciated. But, if I heard it once I heard it a million times, the most offensive phrase people hated to hear, no matter how religious they were was "he or she is in a better place". When someone has just lost a loved one, their grief is telling them that person being with them is the best place they could be to ease that pain, not somewhere else. Even though it's something they may know intellectually, the heart is telling them something else and that's a big conflict.......

Good luck, these can be difficult, however they bring solace to the receiver, and it really is your thought that counts.
lovetostamp3: I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for your response. My music minister touched my heart when he said, "You will never get over this, but you will get through it."
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:19 PM   #22
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These posts are just wonderful in explaining how to handle such a delicate subject in the loss of someone...........................thank you and I will remember
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:31 AM   #23
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thanks for asking the question. i can tell what a class act you are. I learned a lot from reading this thread.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:41 PM   #24
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Thank you all and like Joan B I also learned a lot. And THANK YOU for the compliments everyone!
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:26 PM   #25
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This doesn't really address the OP's concerns, but I just happened to come across this site (via Pinterest), and I thought it might be helpful for anyone reading along on this thread: Sympathy Messages It's all about what to write on a sympathy card.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:43 PM   #26
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I make Sympathy cards using a photograph of a Monarch butterfly with its wings spread on a flower. It would be pretty easy to use a die cut or stamped butterfly on a pretty background, too, but I do many of these and use a photo taken by my sister. Inside, the card says (printed via computer) "When we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly. And when the time is right, we can let go of it and we will be free of pain, free of fears and worries, free as a very beautiful butterfly returning home to God" by Elisabeth Kubler- Ross I hand emboss a die cut butterfly in orange with black overlay, so it looks like a Monarch, and hang it by a gold thread from the inside of the card, so it swings free when the card opens.
I wish I knew how to post pictures on here but I am not that smart, sorry. This is the card I always use to convey sympathy because that thought meant so much to me when I was a Hospice volunteer, and also when my husband died 3 years ago. Many recipients have gone out of their way to tell me how much it helped them. It always bring tears of emotion to my eyes when I make these cards. I hope you all like the thought.
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