Stitched with tender loving care, Memory Bears are not your ordinary stuffed animal.
Waid Funeral Home and Cremation Service is organizing and facilitating the creation of teddy bears made out of clothing left behind by loved ones who have passed away. Anna Winningham, funeral director at Waid Funeral Home says, “When a loved one dies, families are faced with many painful decisions. Deciding what to do with their clothing is one of those decisions. Creating a Memory Bear from one or more garments can allow families to hold onto those special articles of clothing in the form of a huggable teddy bear.”
Last October, 20 family members joined with 12 volunteers and the staff of Waid Funeral Home to create these “Memory Bears.” It was a very meaningful experience to all who participated. Families commented that it was a positive, healing experience. Many shared stories and memories of their loved ones with their seamstresses and the other families. At the end of the day, each bear that was created was a unique remembrance of a very special person. It seemed as if each one had its own personality that honored a loved one.
On April 9 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., staff and volunteer seamstresses will again be on hand at Waid Funeral Home to assist family members in cutting, stuffing and personalizing their own Memory Bears. There is no cost for families to participate in this event and there are no special skills required to do it. The only items families need to bring to the funeral home are the clean article(s) of clothing, a 12 oz. bag of fiber fill for stuffing and buttons for the eyes and nose. If there are other items that can be stitched to the bear to personalize it or to symbolize a special characteristic of a loved one, families are welcome to bring those along as well.
According to the staff, they learned of the idea from a family that created teddy bears from their grandfather’s work and hunting shirts. The grandchildren were each given a bear for Christmas with the message to wrap their arms around the bear whenever they needed a hug from Grandpa. It seemed like such a wonderful and comforting way to remember a loved one, that they decided to try the project here in Merrill.
The event is open to the entire community regardless of whether their family was served by Waid Funeral Home. If anyone is interested, please call the funeral home at 715-536-4646 by April 1 to reserve your space.
There is also more room for volunteer seamstresses. Those interested in volunteering are also asked to contact the funeral home by March 23.