Thomas Lennon's widow, Mary, said she wanted 6 "memory bears"—one for each of his grandchildren—made out of his flannel shirts in time for Christmas.
A hospice care volunteer who sews teddy bears for families who have lost their loved ones has just finished sewing a set of 6 teddy bears out of her grandfather's flannels. Volunteer seamstress, Patrice Travis, creates a "memory bear" every time a patient from AccentCare Hospice passes away. Thomas Lennon, a patient in the hospice passed away in August 2022 due to symptoms related to Parkinson's disease. Lennon's wife, Mary, said she wanted six "memory bears" in honor of her husband—one for each of his grandchildren—made out of his flannel shirts in time for Christmas. The masterpiece took almost three months to be completed, according to the Good News Network.
Travis devoted herself to making these bears, and she did some additional research on Lennon. She wanted the bears to resemble Lennon as much as they could, adding that she decided to make them look like "Pom Pom," grandpa Lennon's nickname. She gave the bears Lennon-like eyes and added a pair of glasses on top of them. Travis sewed a patch with the word "peace" on it and attached it to the paw since Lennon often said the word when he left a place. Lennon played guitar, so she sewed guitar pick holders onto the bear and placed the strums used by Lennon in each pocket. There was some extra flannel material left, which made Travis realize that Mary needed a bear too.
“They took on a life of their own here at our home,” Travis said. “Each ended up with a different personality in the face. I earnestly loved working on the project!” Two days before Christmas, Mary went back to the hospice to collect the bears for her grandchildren but was truly floored by Travis's creations. Christina, the outreach manager said, “I’m astounded by how much the bears captured the essence of Mary’s husband,” adding, “Patrice is just remarkable.” The grandchildren were ecstatic upon receiving their bears and they couldn't have had a merrier Christmas. The kids called the bear "Grandpy" and they take "him" everywhere. Isn't that just adorable?
Mary beams when she talks about the day-to-day activities the bears engage in with the grandchildren. So much so that they gently take off his glasses at night so he can sleep peacefully and in the morning, the glasses go back on him. 'Grandpy' will always continue to watch over the kids and Mary as "Bear Angel." The idea “has morphed into something I could never have imagined and has made everything so much more beautiful", said Mary. For those unaware, memory bears are sewn by a volunteer from your loved one's clothes, such as summer dresses, shirts, and maybe even a uniform. They take all that fabric and make a cuddly bear for you that will always make you remember a special someone that you have lost.
These cuddly bears provide a much-needed smile. Whether you're mourning a family member or missing someone special like a parent, these bears are a sweet reminder of the people you have lost. Per Country Living, you can always DIY your very own bear with the help of Kiseg's blog or purchase a sewing guide through different websites, and all you need is your grandma's favorite sweater to relive the memory of her warm embrace. The bears will gather all of your treasured memories, clothes, and love in one place, which sounds almost perfect.