One of the most meaningful gifts that we can provide our loved ones is the knowledge that we care for them. This gift endures in memory even after life journeys end. In 2018, Liberty Hospice expanded their offerings to the families of patients through a new service that helps that memory live on.
Teddy bears made with meaning and love for families of Liberty Hospice
Now, with the help of a local seamstress, Liberty Hospice is able to offer teddy bears and pillows that are created by using clothing that once belonged to patients.
Annette Conran, director of Liberty Hospice, shares how the program began, “We had a family ask if we could create several teddy bears for the children of one of our younger patients. I believe the gentleman’s children were ages 17, 14, and 11. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that we would be able to meet this request.”
Upon initial research, the team at Liberty Hospice found that similar freelance services existed, however production costs usually started at around $65 per item. The Hospice team knew they could do better.
“We asked around and eventually found a relative of one of our staff members who was eager to help,” Annette says. “Now, each bear or pillow costs $25 to $35 to produce – with absolutely no charge to the family.”
Sue Fitzpatrick outlines her experience. “My mother had been with Liberty Hospice for almost a year-and-a-half. After she passed, we had a lot of her pajamas and nightgowns left,” Sue shares. “I reached out to Liberty Hospice to see if there was any use for them, and that’s when they told me about this new program. Mom’s nurse came by the house and was very helpful. She went through Mom’s clothing with us, helping to find items that were both meaningful and made of materials that could be used for pillows for me and my two sisters.”
To ensure a personal touch, Liberty Hospice works with family members to add elements to pillows and bears, which may be emblematic of their loved one. This has included adding special buttons and broaches to pillows, or adding features to bears such as aprons or a string of pearls.
“My pillow is on my bed every night. So it’s a nice way to have her with me in a sense,” says Sue. “Funnily enough, one of the aspects I love the most is the tag. It reads, ‘This is something I used to wear. When you hold it, know I am there.’”
If you’re interested in supporting Liberty Hospice and this program, which comes at no cost to families, please visit www.libertylutheran.org/giving