Craig Day, News On 6
GROVE, Oklahoma -- An Oklahoma seamstress has taken on her biggest project - stitching up souls. She's giving families a way to hold on to a piece of their loved ones after they've gone.
At a little alteration shop in Grove, Tynsy and Ron Foster spend a lot of time at their sewing machines. Tynsy's made a living at it for twenty years.
About ten years ago, the couple decided to use their skills with a needle and thread to mend broken hearts.
"God knew his people were hurting out there, I knew there was a lot of grieving people," Tynsy said.
In between helping customers and hemming pants, the Fosters make Tynsy's Miracle Bears.
"A teddy bear couldn't do what these Miracle Bears have done," Ron Foster said.
It started with one woman asking them to make a little bear using her late husband's clothing. Word spread and more and more people with heavy hearts wanted them.
"Here's a bear with the clothes of your loved ones on, that you can hold," Ron said.
We're not just talking about a few bears, for a few people, to ease only a few broken hearts; 5,000 of Tynsy's miracle bears later, they're still at it.
"They know they are physically not here, but as long as that bear is in their presence, there is part of them that is still here," Ron said.
The Fosters scrapbook the heartfelt thank you notes they get from people all over the country.
"The bear was made from a gown, the last Christmas gift I gave my mother," Tynsy read from one note.
All of their customers and bears are special, including the ones made for Sharon Crawford.
"It has been the hardest thing in my life," Crawford said.
When her son Brian died in a car accident in 2004, she had several of his shirts made into bears: a little league jersey, a work shirt, the sweater he looked so handsome wearing.
She had more bears made when another son, Trent, was killed in another accident two years ago.
"It means so much from the bottom of my heart because it does help keep a part of them with me all the time," Crawford said.
Tynsy and Ron work behind their sewing machines, sometimes long into the night and on weekends to meet orders. But it's worth it knowing how much of a difference the bears make.
"It enables them to get through the grieving," Ron said.
Each one represents someone who was loved, but lost. Each one heals the hurting, at least in a small way.
"I'm so thankful that we can be a part of touching their lives," Tynsy said. "Just to know that our simple bear has made a difference to them."
"I don't ever want to forget them; I don't want things put away," Sharon Crawford said.
"Sometimes my heart gets pretty heavy," Tynsy said.
With every bear that they finish, a part of their hearts goes out with it. Tynsy and Ron will keep making the miracle bears until either they or their sewing machines give out and will continue to make the world a better place from this little alteration shop.
Tynsy's husband Ron also sends out a CD he recorded on grieving the loss of a loved one with every bear.