Early last year, in March, when Jeanie Gum’s husband, Bill, passed away from cancer, her family knew the holidays would become an especially difficult time for her. Jeanie and Bill were high school sweethearts and they had shared 64 long years of marriage. This would be her first Christmas without him. So as the holiday season began, the family wanted to make sure Jeanie got to open an extra-meaningful gift.
Sammie Beaty, one of Jeanie’s four granddaughters, said, “I wanted to have something special that we could put in my papaw’s chair, where he always would sit for our family Christmas. I thought it was a great idea to turn his sweater that he always wore on Christmas Eve into a pillow.” Beaty discussed the idea with her family members, and they had the pillow made with a special note that read, “This is a shirt I used to wear, and whenever you hold it, know I am there. Love, Bill.”
Beaty added, “It’s been rough for my nanny since my papaw’s passing, and we wanted to comfort her.” She shared photos and videos of her grandmother opening the pillow on Facebook, with the caption, “I’m so glad you liked this special gift that we all decided to get made for you. It turned out amazing and I hope you love it as much as we do. We love you nanny!!”
Thousands of likes and comments poured in, with several people wanting to do the same thing for their family members. Beaty is happy to share the shop that made the pillow: Just Sew Peachy, located in her hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia.
When her grandmother opened the gift, Beaty says the feeling in the room was “overwhelming, with tears and sadness, but also hope because we knew it was something that she will always cherish in my papaw’s memory … she said it was the best present she has ever received in her life.”
Beaty adds that although losing Bill has been difficult for their whole family, it’s been a good reminder to tell people how you feel. She said, “My nanny tells us every day to love one another daily and to say ‘I love you’ as much as you can, because you never when it will be the last time you say it to someone you love with your whole heart.”