Memories are powerful healers. They help soothe the loss of a loved one and offer a glimmer of joy in the midst of heartache. One young British seamstress has found a sweet way to bring potent memories to grieving people all around the world.
Mary MacInnes, just 21 years old now, began sewing at a very young age. Her career has taken a turn she never expected, but one that has helped hundreds of people cope with the pain of loss through special teddy bears that are made from the clothing of departed loved ones.
In a recent interview, MacInnes said, “I made my first memory bear five years ago as a favor for a friend and was constantly asked to make more, but turned them down because I wanted to concentrate on university and a career in bridal.”
Since her first creations nearly six years ago, MacInnes has created one-of-a-kind bears for countless customers seeking a way to preserve memories in the form of a physical reminder. MacInnes finds joy in creating the bears but also admits that it can be emotionally draining in some cases, saying, “Recently, I had a 37-year-old man pleading with me to make his two daughters aged 10 & 12 bears before Christmas. He insisted on paying in full and gave me £10 ($13) extra asking me to post them to his girls. It turned out he has terminal cancer and won’t see Christmas. I cried the whole time I cut out, sewed, and stuffed those two little bears.”
MacInnes designs each bear from start to finish, working with the customer to capture the memory of their loved one. The bears start at around £50 ($64), and each can take up to six hours to create. It’s a labor of love for MacInnes, who says, “It really is a privilege to be asked to create something from people’s personal possessions.”