Six Memory Bears Sewn With Love and Grandpa’s Flannels For Widow’s Grandchildren

6 ‘Memory Bears’ Sewn With Love and Grandpa’s Flannels For Widow’s Grandchildren (goodnewsnetwork.org)

A hospice care volunteer who sews together teddy bears for patients who’ve lost loved ones recently completed a monumental task of teddy bear sextuplets bearing a loving grandfather’s flannels.

AccentCare hospice

Patrice Travis works as a volunteer seamstress at AccentCare Hospice care in Boston, sewing a “memory bear” anytime one of their wards passes away. Thomas Lennon was a patient there before he died in August 2022 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease.

Thomas’ widow, Mary was asked by AccentCare’s community outreach manager Christina if she wanted a memory bear in Thomas’ honor, but she requested six—one for each of his grandchildren, to be made out of his flannel shirts and in time for Christmas.

Travis started right away and researched Thomas for details about him. She decided to make the bears look like “Pom-Pom,” grandpa’s nickname. She found eyes that matched his eye color, glasses similar to his, and put them on the bears.

She learned he always said, “Peace” when leaving a place. So, she found a patch with “Peace” on it and added it to the paw. Thomas played guitar, so she found guitar pick holders and sewed them onto the bear, and placed Pom Pom’s used guitar picks in each special pocket. Diligently, she worked. Left with extra shirt material, Patrice decided Mary needed a bear, too.

The impossible task of finishing seven bears was completed in three months.

Teddy Bear with bandana and grandpa’s flannel -AccentCare hospice

“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 visited the hospice care center for the big bear transfer and was simply astonished at what one volunteer had managed to accomplish.

Outreach manager Christina said “I’m astounded by how much the Bears captured the essence of [Mary’s] husband” adding simply that “Patrice is just remarkable.”

The grandkids received their bears, each having been added to with one of Pom Pom’s hats, on Christmas morning.

AccentCare hospice

The grandkids call the bears “Grandpy.” They take “him” everywhere. Mary glows as she talks of how the bears do activities with the grandkids daily. At night, they take off his glasses and set him nearby while they sleep. In the morning, the glasses go back on him.

In a way, Grandpy continues to watch over them as their “Bear Angel.”

Mary said the idea “has morphed into something I could never have imagined and has made everything so much more beautiful.”