A 93-year-old widow was given a special gift to help her cope with the death of her husband of 70 years.
England resident Joyce Beckett recently lost her husband, John, just three years after moving into the Richmond Villages retirement home in Northampton. The couple had just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on Aug. 18, 2015, and John died from illness on Feb. 11, Metro UK reports.
Beckett, who suffers from dementia, became distressed and had trouble coping with the loss of her longtime partner. Staff at the home said they tried to comfort her by keeping her company but wanted to do something special for her.
That's when they got the idea to create a "memory cushion" out of John's favorite shirt. Chris Ryatt-Howard, director of activities at the home, contacted the couple's son David for permission and then began creating the gift.
The cushion cover was made from John's favorite shirt. It included a picture of him in the pocket of the jacket and a note stitched in it that was meant to be read from John's perspective.
"This is a shirt I used to wear," the note reads. "Whenever you hold it know that I am there."
On March 10, Ryatt-Howard presented the gift to Beckett, the Herald & Post reports.
"Joyce do you know where John is today?" he asked her.
"Yes he's in Heaven," she replied.
"Well I have made you something to remember John and whenever you want to give him a cuddle or have a chat to him you can use this," he responded.
Beckett was "quite overcome with emotion, but in a happy way," Richmond Villages employee Claire Fry told the Herald & Post.
"It was one of his [favorite] shirts so she [recognized] what it was and she was very tearful," Fry told Metro UK. "A lot of other staff who were on a training day were there as well and they had tears in their eyes and were getting emotional too. It is in her bedroom now and is always kept close to her."
Fry posted photos of the special cushion on the home's Facebook page, and they quickly went viral.
"The reaction from people has been quite overwhelming to the point that we are getting requests to make cushions," Fry told the Herald & Post. "I am pleased to say the cushion is taking pride of place in Joyce's room."