memory bear
Humanitarian Positive News

Student Creates Memory Bears from Clothing of Deceased Loved Ones to Help People Cope with Grief

There is nothing worse than losing someone close to you like a member of your family, a friend, or any loved one. To say it’s devastating and painful is an understatement. No matter how much we try to make the pain go away, sometimes it can last months or even years.  

Thanks to a crafty and talented British woman named Mary MacInnes, people have been given a new and  wonderful way to keep fond mementos of their deceased loved ones in the form of “memory bears”.

Mary MacInnes  has been making these stuffed toys out of the favorite clothing items of deceased loved ones so people  can have something to hold onto as they cope with their grief and sadness. 

Ms. MacInnes is a fashion technology student at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. With only  £10 in start-up funds, she started her small business in March of 2014. This project was a part of a youth entrepreneurship local challenge and is inspired by the very first teddy bear she made when she was only 16 years old.

The challenge only ran for a month but since she decided to continue the project, it didn’t take long before requests came flooding in. However, Ms. MacInnes opted to focus on her studies so she had to turn down some of the requests she received. Ten months later, she was voted Young Entrepreneur of 2014. 

According to My Modern Met, McInnes feels honored to have the privilege to create something out of people’s personal belongings. “It sounds cliché,” she said. “but it really is a privilege to be asked to create something from people’s personal possessions. The pressure to ensure the safekeeping of cremation ash and jewelry (which can be inserted into bears) is a huge responsibility. It takes 5-6 hours to design, plan, cut, sew, and complete each bear.” she added. Indeed, MacInnes doesn’t only use pieces of clothing to create her memory bears. She also accepts jewelry pieces and even ashes of a deceased person when crafting her bears, according to the Good News Network. 

Now that McInnes is 21, she is very happy with the way she’s helped people endure the grieving process. She noted that this is not the easiest line of work because it involves a lot of emotions but she’s always been happy to help nonetheless. “I really enjoy meeting my customers when they collect bears — 80% burst into tears. I think that’s because garments arrive as sad reminders of the past, then it’s almost as if new life is breathed into them. They become something that’s much more acceptable to cuddle and talk to, and the feedback is they definitely can help the grieving process.” she shared. 

When a loved one dies, we try to hold on to their dear memories as much as we can. With the help of McInnes’ memory bears, people now have a brand new and meaningful way to hold their deceased loved ones close to their hearts. 

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