We are extremely lucky to have incredible customers at Lovekeepcreate. One of our customers, Sam, has been kind enough to let us share her story.
Can you tell us a little bit about your dad?
I find it really hard to describe my Dad. How do you put into words someone who really is your everything? Being the only girl, I was a Daddy’s girl. He was a very proud Dad and Grandad, or Gaga as the grandchildren called him. He doted on all 8 of his Grandchildren and was happiest when they were visiting.
My Dad passed away in 2012 aged 49. Up until 5 months before he died life was great. He was looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life, along with my mum, after 25 years in the British Army. It should have been exciting times ahead. Unfortunately, 6 weeks before he was due to leave the Army, Dad started complaining of shoulder pain and after lots of tests and scans was diagnosed with cancer. We were broken but he was determined that he would fight and we would be there fighting alongside him. I arranged to move back to the UK from Germany so that I could be around to help support him, my mum and my three brothers. Unfortunately, the cancer was far more advanced than we thought and Dad was told that it was terminal. We set about trying to make those last few months we had amazing ones, our highlight being Dad coming off the Queen’s New Years Honours list and receiving an MBE for his services to Computer Crime in February 2012. Sadly, soon after, Dad’s health started to deteriorate and he was admitted to a hospice where we were able to spend the time we needed with him until the end. Dad passed away on 25th March 2012, surrounded by my mum, me and my brothers.
He sounds like an incredible man, it must have been so hard to lose him.
It was incredibly hard. It changed us all so much as a family and we literally wanted to cling on to anything that we could that he came into contact with. My brothers and I had all left home and trying to find an item where we could have a ‘piece of him’ with us was really hard.
How did you come across LKC?
I first came across LKC when Rachel moved onto the Army base that my husband worked on. She had posted on our wives Facebook page about LKC and I loved the concept and soon ordered a keepsake for my youngest son. I was over the moon with how our keepsake turned out and my son adores his monkey, he still sleeps with it now and it has come on many holidays and house moves! After getting to know Rachel a bit better she mentioned that LKC were going to start promoting a grown-up keepsakes range and straight away I knew I wanted something.
How hard was the decision to have your memory bears made?
To be honest I didn’t hesitate. I could either have some of my dad’s clothes and keep them in a box or I could have them made into a gorgeous bear and have it sit pride of place where I can see it every day. I do understand for some it is difficult but for me it has brought nothing but comfort. When I look at our bears I can picture him wearing each item of clothing, memories of him wearing those particular clothes, where we were and what we were doing.
How did the process work and how did you decide which items of clothing to use?
The process was very easy. LKC were so helpful and very considerate of how hard this is for a grieving family. They took on board my requests and any unused items of clothes were sent back to us with the final keepsake.
The hard part was choosing the clothing. My dad spent his days in suits so I knew I would be choosing one of them. I have a gorgeous photo of my Dad in one of his favourites, a pin striped suit, so we chose that, along with a white shirt. The bear obviously needed a tie and Dad had plenty.
The ties he wore the most he used to take off with the knots still in them . After dad had passed away, we never undid the knots so using these ties was an obvious choice. We had the length of the tie shortened to fit the bear and the neck size cut and re-sewn so the knot remained untouched. To have the bear wearing one of my Dad’s ties where the knot was still in from when my Dad last knotted it was so special.
Can you tell us how many keepsakes you had made and who they were for?
So many! I had one made of each of my 3 brothers, one for me and one for my mum. I hadn’t told any of them I was having them made so after seeing their reactions to them and telling me how special they considered them and what it meant to them I decided to have some made for my children.
My Dad was the most devoted ‘Gaga’ any child could wish for and I knew that for the grandchildren to have a little piece of him too would be really special. 5 of my Dad’s grandchildren were born after he passed away so for them to have something was important as they don’t have the memories that the other grandchildren have. For Christmas, I ordered 13 bears for each of my nieces and nephews. I was living out in Kuwait at the time so relied on LKC and my mum to sort it all out. Each bear had been embroidered with ‘Gaga Bear’ on one foot and the grandchild’s name on the other foot. When my mum received the completed bears she sent me a photo and I was blown away. It made me incredibly emotional and I just can’t thank LKC enough for all their help.
What have the memory bears meant to you and your family?
These keepsakes mean the world to us. As the years go on without Dad here it is so lovely to have something that can bring us such comfort. The clothes that we used were clothes that he wore in the days/weeks/months before he passed away, it’s nice to be able to keep a part of him from then.
As a family, we really can’t thank LKC enough, caring, compassionate and flexible when it comes to what you want doing with your loved ones clothes.