MERRILL - Keeping memories alive of a loved one who passed away can be difficult...especially as time goes on.
A woman in Merrill started her business after her father died to keep his memory close to her.
Now, she's been able to help people all over the U.S. and Canada hold onto those memories.
Blake and Brynn Gremminger remember the fun times they had with their grandparents.
"Usually with our grandpa, we'd play catch or something or go out for ice cream," said 10-year-old Blake.
Their grandpa passed away last year and their grandma passed away a year and a half before that.
Their mom Stephanie wanted to have a special memory of her parents. Something to make things easier on the hard days.
"I had the bears made with my mom's Brewers shirt because she's a big Brewers fan," said Stephanie.
She saw Melissa Jahnke's Papa Bear Memorials on Facebook and knew she found that special memory.
"And it almost feels like they're here with me, a little part of them is still here," said Stephanie.
Jahnke started her business because she had a similar experience. She lost her father in April of 2015.
"It started with me needing a way to cope and needing a way to heal," said Jahnke.
Christmas came around and Jahnke wanted to give her siblings something special.
"And part of me told me bears, make bears. Something that my siblings could hug and everything like that," said Jahnke.
The boxes were opened with tears and thanks yous, and Jahnke wanted to help other people keep a little piece of their loved one with them. Since she started making bears she has heard the stories of many people.
"John Allen. He passed away and so when I made his bear that was made out of his marine uniform," said Jahnke.
She's sent bears all over the country.
"I've had order from 21 different states," said Jahnke.
She uses every piece of the clothing to put together a very unique creation.
A creation that gives Blake and Brynn a little bit of comfort when they miss their grandparents.
"[We] snuggle them, maybe sleep with them too," said Blake and Brynn.
The bears also help Stephanie keep her parents' memory with her.
"It makes it a little bit easy on those tough days," said Stephanie.
Jahnke also makes bears for special occasions or commemorating a milestone. For more information, visit the link below.
Papa Bear Memorials