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Memory bears, pillows help families with grief

November 27, 2019 posted by Vidant Health News

Coping with the loss of a family member or close friend is hard, but having something to hold onto can help those feeling loss get through difficult times.

Tina Edwards has had to endure the passing of three loved ones in recent months, but has found much needed comfort in her memory bears from the Service League of Greenville Inpatient Hospice House. With the compassionate help of volunteer seamstress Helen Donahue, Edwards now has a memory bear in honor of her late father. She used his favorite shirt, a pair of hospital socks he loved to wear and added a stick of his favorite chewing gum to the bear's pocket.

"They will be at my table for Thanksgiving and Christmas," Edwards said, "and that will probably be what helps me get through the holidays."

Donahue knows the importance of the bears and the power they have to help those dealing with the loss of a loved one. She has helped grieving friends and family make over 50 memory bears and has witnessed people find a moment of peace while crafting the bears.

"I love doing it because that's the last thing they'll have of their loved one," Donahue said, "the last thing they can hold onto."

Workshops are held every year and offer an opportunity for seamstresses and family members to work together to make the bears. Requests for bears and other memory items are available, though priority is placed on Vidant Health Home and Hospice families.

For more information on the program, contact Angelina Brittle at 252-857-1236 or

For more coverage, visit WNCT

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