emotional support

Sales of ‘Memory Bears' Increase During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The teddy bears known as “Memory Bears” are used to help grieving family members while they mourn

A side-by-side image of a completed Memory Bear next to the clothes it was made with.
Telemundo 20

Teddy bears known as “Memory Bears” help provide emotional support to those who lost a loved one, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Karla Cantero, designer of the Tijuana-based Memory Bears, said the bears are delicately crafted to create a special keepsake. They’re created with garments of loved ones who have passed away and the bears offer a way to help those in mourning process their grief.

“With my work, I try to give them a bit of comfort and, of course, to create them with the utmost respect,” Cantero said.

Memory Bears designer Karla Cantero speaks to Telemundo 20 about her business.
Telemundo 20
Memory Bears designer Karla Cantero speaks to Telemundo 20 about her business.

Norma Mendoza’s daughter, Nataly, passed away last year and for that reason, she decided to make a pair of Memory Bears out of her late daughter’s clothes to give to her grandchildren.

“Whenever they feel like hugging her, they’ll be able to hug these bears that are made with their mother’s clothing that still smell like her. Let them know that their mom is still with them because they have her name and clothes,” said Mendoza, a Tijuana resident.

According to therapists, while teddy bears are a great way to process grief while in mourning, it’s important to still seek support from a specialist.

Designer Karla Cantero works on a Memory Bear.
Telemundo 20
Designer Karla Cantero works on a Memory Bear.
A completed Memory Bear.
Telemundo 20
A completed Memory Bear.

“Especially for those who aren’t able to say goodbye to their loved ones due to this unfortunate situation of the pandemic,” explained psychologist Carlos Velásquez. “It is important they undergo a psychotherapeutic process where intervention can be done to allow that family member to process the death in a healthy manner.”

During the last 10 years, Cantero and her sister have converted cherished garments of deceased loved ones into teddy bears with personalized designs, including emboldened names, phrases and important dates.

An up-close look on personal embroidery on a Memory Bear.
Telemundo 20
An up-close look on personal embroidery on a Memory Bear.

“They’ll write to me and they’ll say, ‘thank you so much. I lost my daughter and now my granddaughter has something from her mom that she won’t let go of,” Cantero said. “These kinds of stories honestly motivate me, and I try to make the bears with the most amount of empathy and respect.”

Cantero said that sales of the Memory Bears has significantly increased during the pandemic. She said during the previous month, she crafted 130 teddy bears for clients on both sides on the border.

“We see the bears and remember my daughter fondly with love and wonderful memories come to mind,” Mendoza said.

For more information on Cantero's Memory Bears, click here.

This story was originally published on Telemundo 20. Click here to see the original article.

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