June 24, 2018
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Woman’s sewing helps bereaved embrace memories

By Ardeana Hamlin, Of the Weekly Staff

EDDINGTON — When her mother died three years ago, Marie Lander of Eddington and her seven brothers and sisters faced a situation familiar to anyone who has lost a loved to death. What were they going to do with their mother’s clothing?

“My mother was a great recycler,” Lander said. And in the early weeks of grief that thought began to play a part in what would become of her mother’s clothing. Together, she and her siblings saved the garments that most reminded them of their mother.

Lander cut up those pieces of clothing and crafted them into quilts and other items to give to her siblings. She made a small quilt from her mother’s nightgowns and blouses and a handbag from a suit her mother often wore to attend Mass. She uses the elastic waistband for the bag’s handles and lined it with pieces of the blouse her mother had worn with the suit. She cut up one of her mother’s sweaters and made a cap and matching mittens.

As Lander fashioned the items and noted the comfort that it afforded her and her family, “I got to thinking that other families might find the idea of comfort, too,” she said.

Now, Lander has established Mer’s Fabrications, a home-based business making handbags, totebags, hats, mittens, quilts and potholders. Her mother taught her to sew, and she still uses a Kenmore sewing machine similar to one her mother once used.

Embracing a Memory is the facet of Lander’s business that assists bereaved families in creating from the clothing of a deceased loved one something that is meaningful to them.

As an example, she talked of a family whose father loved to cook. The man’s profession required him to wear a suit and tie all week, but when he was at home, he wore flannel shirts and spent time in the kitchen cooking with his wife and children. After his death, his family members asked Lander to create for them aprons sewn from the man’s flannel shirts.

Lander said that in another instance, she was told about three young boys under the care of a grief counselor after the death of their mother. The counselor asked her to meet with the boys to talk with them about having something made from clothing stained with purple paint that had belonged to their mother.

Initially, when Lander talked to the boys, her thought was to exclude the pieces with the purple paint stains. But when she asked the boys about the stains, they said it was the color they had helped their mother paint on the walls of her bedroom before she became so ill that such times together were no longer possible.

Those paint stains were everything to them, Lander said.

When her clients receive items she has made from clothing that once belonged to their deceased loved ones, “they are very touched and thankful,” she said. Often, the items are given to family members as Christmas gifts.

Lander, who worked in the world of finance for 30 years before she retired, also operates Marie Lander Bookkeeping for Seniors that assists the elderly with balancing checking accounts, paying household bills, arranging for housekeeping services and meals, and tax preparation.

For information, call Lander at 944-6762 or email lander.marie@gmail.com.

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