When my friend Clint was in his final weeks battling testicular cancer, I felt really helpless. I wanted to do something for Clint, his wife Angela and their family, but didn’t know what or how. I ended up writing to Angela, feeling pushy and awkward, and offered her my future sewing services. I wanted to make something from Clint’s shirts to help their little boys remember him. Thankfully, she knew just what I meant and in spite of how weird I felt offering, she was glad to accept. Her Aunt already wanted to make bears for the boys, but Angela didn’t want Clint’s adult daughters to be left out.
Clint died December 11, 2011. Angela sent me a box of shirts. At the time, I was in the middle of a project and had to set them aside, but I couldn’t resist – I pulled out a random shirt and hugged it, then carefully boxed them up. She had picked out a sewing pattern she liked and included it, McCall’s Crafts M6135, if you’re interested. She preferred Bear B, with his cute little toes. (Love the toes!)
If you decide to sew a memorial bear, just know it’s really difficult to cut into a friend’s shirt. I didn’t want to be slicing into his shirt, I wanted him to be wearing it. I dragged my feet. As she did when we were losing Clint, Angela helped me to be practical and get to it. Let me tell you, that woman has an amazing strength and a supportive spirit! Did you notice that there are four bears? Yes, there’s one for Angela, too.
We decided these Daddy Bears should have the #weloveclint bracelets we wore to support him and spread the message about testicular cancer. I think they really like their bracelets.
Here they are with my own little Anna Claire Bear. (My Aunt Joyce had these made for my cousins and me when we lost our Grandma. They’re little, each made from her favorite wool coat she bought on a vacation in Ireland.) When you are missing someone, it really does help to hold a little bear made from clothes that remind you of them.
Clint’s Daddy Bears are a very hug-friendly size.
I hope when they hug their bears, they can feel their Daddy hugging them back. Because you know he is. You know he always is.
In a post already loaded with pictures, I still need to share the most important ones with you. Here are Sarah, Kathleen and Victoria receiving their Daddy Bears. Enjoy the smiles and hugs!
With many thanks to their Mom for delivering them and sharing these photos with us!
If you’d like a way to help other kids going through the loss of a parent, please take a look at the Clint Miller Memorial Foundation and consider making a contribution.