Memory Bears offer a Material Connection07 Jun 2017, Posted by Community in
When a loved one has passed, having a material reminder of their unique spirit can bring peace and comfort to the family.
One of the ways that we strive to lift up our families in this way is by offering to create Memory Bears out of their family member’s articles of clothing. Seasons volunteers across the country lovingly create these stuffed bears for families; each bear has its own personality, and is thoughtfully crafted.
Our Memory Bears can be made from a favorite t-shirt, bathrobe, or jacket. This Hello Kitty bear was made for a patient’s granddaughter. The young granddaughter had picked the robe out as a gift, and while it was a running joke in the family, the grandmother wore it anyway out of love. One of our volunteers created this bear after the grandmother passed away, and now the little girl takes the bear everywhere she goes, including school. It has been instrumental in helping the child cope with the loss of her loved one.
It takes about six hours for a volunteer to sew a Memory Bear.
Some volunteers create hundreds of memory bears for Seasons families! Volunteers work at their own pace, but most bears are finished and delivered within a month of receiving the article of clothing. Oftentimes, even the act of delivering a memory bear a month or two after the loved one has passed can be a healing event for family members. When Volunteer Coordinator Sabrina recently went to drop off a Memory Bear to a deceased patient’s wife, the wife had prepared lemon tarts, and the two sat down and visited. The wife was able to reflect more upon the couple’s life together, as well as upon her husband’s last moments. It was a healing moment, and the bear will be a lasting reminder of a beloved husband. As she coordinates volunteer activities in Georgia, Sabrina gets to see firsthand what these bears mean to families: “I have seen time after time families coming to tears when they see their Memory Bear for the first time. I firmly believe these wonderful gifts help families with the grieving process and provide much comfort.”
After Judy’s husband Don passed away, one of our Seasons Missouri volunteers created a Memory Bear out of one of Don’s shirts. Don was a Vietnam War vet who always wore the same patriotic shirt when he rode motorcycles with his buddies, and this bear was the perfect memento for Judy. She wrote to us: “I now have a piece of my husband that I will never put down for the rest of my life, and it will be tear stained with many tears of love.”
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A few examples of the amazing work our volunteers do every day!