When someone close to you passes away, it can be difficult to say goodbye. A big part of the grieving process is going through the things your loved one left behind. Still, physical reminders of loved ones can be especially helpful in keeping their memory alive. Mary MacInnes takes those physical reminders and turns them into beautiful memory bears.
McInnes is a fashion student at Scotland’s Herriot Watt University. At just 21 years old, she’s already been in business for six years making “Memory Bears.” These bears are pieced together from a favorite piece of clothing of a deceased loved one. McInnes made one for a friend when she was 16 years old, and ever since then, other people have flooded her with requests.
“I gave in to requests for bears and once I uploaded photos to my page it just exploded – so at the moment I’m fully committed to making them,” she told Metro.
McInnes now maintains a Facebook page where she posts her completed projects and takes orders for new ones. Each bear takes around five to six hours to make, and right now McInnes has a months-long waiting list for new orders.
McInnes told Metro, “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.”
McInnes occasionally includes other important physical reminders of loved ones into the bears, like ashes or jewelry.
“I love seeing their faces take on character and I’m absolutely loving life,” McInnes said. “I really enjoy meeting my customers when they collect bears–80% burst into tears.”