Saturday, December 18, 2010

about the bear ..

Do you see the little black bear sitting in the corner of our oak settee? We call him Momma Bear (yeah, I know - him/her). He sits there all quiet as if he has nothing to say. But, as you will soon see, he has plenty to say.

I made him the fall of the year my mother died. In the fall of 2001. I made him while I sat spellbound as the lives of many changed forever. I had been dealing with my own grief over the death of first my brother-in-law and then my mother in the spring of that year. I felt I had a head start on dealing with grief, so I sat mesmerized as the whole country dealt with loss. And I sewed.

Sewing always relaxes me, just as cooking does.

My first thought was to make a single bear who would sit in a corner much the same way this one now sits.

One turned to two and two turned to four.

The fabric I used? I had just enough to make the four I needed. I carefully chose the colors from my selection by their wear. The fabric began as clothing that had belonged to my mother. The pattern fabric was a nightgown she spent a good deal of her final 6 months wearing in the nursing home where we had to place her. The black fabric was a jogging suit she would often wear to visit our fathers grave when she was able.

And I began cutting and sewing. The more I cut, the more I sewed, the more I cried.

Finally they were complete. Four identical bears made from the clothing of our mother. Just in time for Christmas. I wrapped each one identical.

Each of my brothers and sisters got a bear of their very own. Except I forgot to make one for myself. So, how did I get this one? He is the bear that belonged to my older sister, Sister, who died in June.

This is my oldest sister, Sister with her Momma Bear.

My baby sister, Renee with her Momma Bear.

My baby brother, Kevin with his Momma Bear.

My middle sister, Becky with her Momma Bear.

Just a reminder in this stress filled time, some of the best gifts come from the heart and don't cost a dime.

All my love and hoping each and every one of you has a Glorious and Merry Christmas.



  1. Troy what a beautiful story. It must have been hard to make those bears, so many tears but also healing. Pouring your love into them and the memories of you Mother. I am sorry one came back to you through the death of Sister, but now it can bring you comfort. Thank you for sharing your story. It's the love that counts, not the amount of money spent. Merry Christmas.

  2. Troy, you are killing me. It because of people like you that i continue to blog. I love the pretty photos of the pretty stuff but that is just it, it is stuff. People in the other hand, the ones that show their heart unabashed, sincere and full of loved... This are the things I need to hear about. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed Christmas, you will see them again, Marta.

  3. Troy,
    You must link this to Rebecca's birthday post.
    Go to and add this please.
    I am so touched by the love that went into each of those bears and how the love came back to you is so needs to be shared. I lost my sweet mother in '98 and wish I had thought of this to keep her scent close. God bless you my friend.

  4. Troy..
    beautifully stated!!
    thanks from the bottom of my heart!!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!
    Warm sandy hugs..

  5. I think everybody could pretty much use a Momma Bear, and someone who loves them enough to make them one.

    You are wonderful. :-)

  6. Dear Troy:
    What a wonderful tribute to your mother, as well as fitting gifts to your siblings. I'm sure that it's both painful and comforting for you to have the fourth bear now, my friend. I'll be thinking of you and your generous spirit, and the gifts from your hands and heart.
    Merry Christmas, Troy.

  7. Hello
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, it is such an inspirational gift. I am so sorry you lost so many that you love but they are not really lost... they are in the arms of Jesus.
    God bless you this Christmas season. You have enriched my day

  8. Oh my goodness what a heart touching post and what and incredibly thoughtful gift you made for your family members. May you be showered in Christmas blessings this season.

  9. What a touching story Troy, and such loving gifts to make for your dear brothers and sisters. I can thing of nothing more beautiful.

  10. What a very inspirational and touching story of how you turned loss and grief into something so very special for your entire Family! Gifts that have a Story and are made by our own hands are precious... our creations have a part of us in them and so for the recipients they are often priceless.

    Christmas Blessings... Dawn... The Bohemian

  11. What a sweet thing to do for your siblings. I lost my mom almost 11 years ago. After she died, I took some of her clothes home with me (to wear). The best part was that they smelled like her. Her closet, her perfume, her skin. It was a while before I washed anything because I didn't want to loose that beautiful smell. I love that you poured your heart out into making those bears. It must have been very therapeutic for you and your siblings as well. Well done.

    Have a wonderful Christmas,

  12. Oh Troy. This is such a beautiful post and what a beautiful thing for you to do for your sweet brothers and sisters!!!! It was so generous of you too to give them the bears and for you not to have one of your own. I'm sorry that for you to have one, you had to have your sister's after her passing your bear represents two precious souls in your life ~ thank you for this reminder Troy that thoughtful and meaningful gifts are truly from the heart and don't have to cost a thing ~ hugs and love, Dawn

  13. Hi Troy
    I am back here again because I could not find an email to contact you with.
    Could you please send me you address because I would like to send you a small gift.
    Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us on my blog party... you are such an inspiration.
    Wishing you and your lovely family a very blessed Christmas.

  14. This is such a touching a beautiful post! What wonderful gifts and straight from the heart... the best kind to get!!! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
    Blessings~~ Daphne

  15. Hi Troy,

    What a beautiful tribute to your Mother and I loved seeing the lovely bears you made for your family.
    Have a happy Christmas and best wishes for 2011.


  16. Thank you Troy, I received your address. I am leaving for Mn today for Christmas and did not finish the angel so I will be sending it after Christmas. With that I apologize and will give you your choice of colors. As long as I cannot get it to you, you should have your choice of color.
    Wishing you a very blessed Christmas with all those you love

  17. That is just a wonderful, precious thing you did for you and your family. Makes me want to cry. I have thought of doing the same sort of thing with some of my mother's clothing, but have not been able to do it yet.

    Thank you for the inspiration.

  18. Troy, what a beautiful and heartfelt post. Such a thoughtful gesture and what precious heirlooms for your family. You truly put your heart into creating those treasures.

    Thank you for this lovely post today.

    I wish you all the best in the coming year.


  19. Oh Troy. I'm sitting here weeping. What a beautiful love story! I'm both sad and happy that you now have a bear. Sad for the loss of Sister, but happy you will be caring for her bear... that he's back home with you. And, you are right... the best gifts come from the heart. I wasn't blog visiting much during December. I hope your Christmas was filled with love and hope for a wonderful year ahead.

    Nita Jo