My Dad is always with me through my bereavement bear

Three individual photographs of the bereavement bear

Posted on: 29 Aug 2022

Each year, the Bereavement Services at Nottingham Hospitals provides families with special memory boxes, which helps them remember their loved one after they have passed away. Lisa Pope received one of these special boxes including the bereavement bear after she lost her father Roy in 2018. She explains how one bear has made a difference, during an incredibly difficult time.

“My Dad Roy Bicker, passed away in October 2018 on the Gervis Pearson Ward at the Nottingham City Hospital. He was a husband, Dad and Papa. The nurses were lovely and spent time with us following Dad’s death. We received a memory box and the nurse asked if we would like a bereavement bear to keep, and one would go with Dad on his final journey. We thought that was a lovely idea, so we made a donation to Nottingham Hospitals Charity and came home with two bears that same night.

“Since that day, every time we do something ‘Roy related’ we take a bear with us. When we went to collect his death certificate, register his death, visited him at the funeral home and on the day of his cremation, that little bear was in my bag.

“At the funeral we asked for donations instead of flowers and raised £1,000. £500 went to the Swan Appeal to buy more memory boxes and teddies and £500 went towards toiletries and lights for the outside garden just off the ward, as well as a fridge and cutlery for the staff room. We came back with another two bears on one of our visits for the grandchildren, which have been christened Papa Bear. We go back to Gervis Pearson two to three times a year with toiletries and Easter eggs/selections boxes for the patients and staff; it's always nice to give a little back.

“Before Dad passed away he said he wanted to pay for my Mum, myself and Jodie, his granddaughter, to go to New York at Christmas time. Once again, the little bear came along, he visited the cockpit, the Empire State Building, the 911 Museum/Ground Zero and had various pictures taken of his trip around The Big Apple.

Lisa's fathers bear sits in between two pilots in the pilot quarters

Roy's bear in the cockpit on the way to New York

“This little bear has been such a comfort; we spray him with Dad’s favourite smell, Brut, and he has soaked up many tears and eased us into sleep on many occasions. You are never too old for a bear.

“This year would have been Dad's 66th birthday and on his birthday, I visited his favourite garden centre with the bear in tow. We went to a restaurant for lunch where we raised a glass in his memory.

“These bears are so meaningful to us as a family and to be able to carry a piece of Dad, has helped me through some of the hardest times where I would have turned to Dad for help and comfort.”

These bereavement bears are currently known as Clare’s Bears and are given to family and loved ones by the incredible bereavement team. To learn more about the memory boxes and the bereavement team, please click here.

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