VNA Hopes to Soften the Grieving for Bereaved Families with Memory Bear Program


When you think of your loved ones, you often picture them in their favorite clothes and accessories. For that reason, it can be difficult to clear out a loved one’s closet after they pass away.

For bereaved families, the Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire is hoping to soften the grieving with a “memory bear.”

For the past three years, VNA volunteers have sewn over 70 memory bears using the clothing of hospice patients, creating comforting mementos for both children and adults.

Families typically choose the bear’s eye color to match the eyes of their loved one, if possible. They may also ask our volunteers to use a certain part of a shirt that belonged to their loved one. Families can also share stories about their love ones so the VNA can help accessorize the bears with decorative buttons, bows, bandanas, or use the fabric of a favorite sports team. Families sometimes add additional accessories.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has kept the VNA from having in-person volunteering, our sewing programs were able to continue by taking extra safety protocols to ensure the materials were safe to move between families, staff, and volunteers.

The VNA of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire is fortunate to have 125 dedicated volunteers supporting our hospice team, patients, and families.

For more information regarding hospice or the memory bears, please call 603-622-3781.