Social media is a great venue to keep in touch with friends and family. And although we may live some distance apart, re-connecting with my cousin Barbara Sanders though Facebook and this blog has been a blessing in my life. It did not take me long to realize that I come from a line of very talented women. Barbara sews and crafts many unique and beautiful things but I wanted to share with you one very special gift she created, the memory bear.
Memory bears are made from an item of clothing of a deceased love one. It is a lovely way of reconnecting with one’s past and sharing memories of your loved one with others. Daughters can smile at the memory of a bear made from a mother’s coat and grandchildren can connect with someone they perhaps may have never known.
Each bear is unique as the person it symbolizes and I believe has the ability to touch it’s recipients heart. Here is Barbara’s story.
“I first heard of a memory bear when my sister Donna sent a memory bear to me out of my brother in law’s favorite shirts. It moved me to tears as I took it out of the package and realized what it was. I loved my Bubba, (as I called him) dearly, and had actually introduce him to my sister 13 years earlier. They were married 5 weeks later in my home and were a perfect match till the day he died. He gave the best bear hugs, so a memory bear was perfect for me to have and hug.
This got me to thinking of the clothes I had of my mother’s that were just hanging in my closet since her death. I couldn’t wear them, and I couldn’t part with them either. I decided to make my sisters and niece a memory bear for Christmas. I made up a pattern using my Bubba bear as a guide. By the 4th one I figured it out. I decided if I ever made more I would have to buy a pattern with instructions. I made a bigger one for my niece and really over stuffed her, we just said MawMaw ate too many dumplings. I scented each bear with my mother’s favorite perfume and sent them to my sisters. Course they cried and were comforted at the same time. I have little talks with Bubba and Mother sometimes and they are always good for a hug.”
Looking at the photo’s of Barbara’s bears brings a flood of memories to me as well. I remember my Aunt Clarice (Barbara’s mom) was always well dressed, hair coiffed and a scarf around her neck. I love scarves to this day. It made me smile with memories.
“The white material on my bears was from a white suit of my mother’s. I used the buttons eyes from suit for some of the bears eyes.
The solid purple was once a skirt, and the print was top for that skirt.
The light blue is from the gown we put on her when she first died so the men that came to get her would see her in a fresh gown. It had the smocking and I incorporated that and the pocket into a couple of the bears. One bear has eyes from the buttons off the gown.
The green was from another shirt of hers.
Course she most always wore a scarf, so two of the bears have them. I later added a scarf pin to mine that I remembered I had.”
Some memories evoke strong feelings. I think this is one such bear.
“One story told leads to another Memory Bear request. Katie, a lady I work with, had a brother name Michael that died when he was two. Katie had kept his bed sheet and pillow case for 18 years, when she asked me to make her a bear, I did a two inch boarder around the pillow case over one weekend and stuffed the center to make it into a throw pillow instead of just a stuffed pillow case. I gave it to her on Monday not knowing it was her brother’s birthday and he would have been 20 years old. Katie had to leave work it was so moving for her, she went home and held her pillow close for a long nap. I decided I needed to be more careful how I delivered a memory bear.
I then created her bear from the little sheet taking care to not have Disney characters all over his face, so he could have a personality of his own. I scented it with baby powder, and had her come to the house to get him. She was prepared, and let out a happy laugh of glee when she saw him. A quick hug and deep breath of his scent started the healing process of her little broken heart. He sleeps with her each night now. Our memories of our loved ones never fade, Memory Bears give us a touchable memory of comfort, that is why I make them.”
I hope you enjoyed these littles pieces of heaven in the form of memory bears. Remember to treat each day as a day to make a memory!