Health & Wellness Resources


Heartland Hospice Volunteer Makes Memory Blankets for Family


When a loved one dies, the family is often left with the daunting task of sorting through the personal items that the recently departed left behind. It’s impossible to hang on to everything, but it’s painful to get rid of those everyday things that remind us of the person we lost.

Molly Kavanagh was faced with this very situation after her father, Michael Kavanagh, passed away while a patient of Heartland Hospice serving East Central Wisconsin.  She wanted to do something meaningful with her father’s clothing, so she reached out to Heartland Hospice.

Originally, Molly asked for pillows to be made from the shirts and fleece sweatshirts that her father wore.  “My mother passed away five years ago, and a volunteer from the Heartland Hospice in Milwaukee made pillows from her clothing,” recalls Kavanagh. “Would you be able to do the same for my dad?” she asked.

Kathy Mieritz, Heartland volunteer, offered to make blankets for the Smith/Kavanagh family.  “Kathy is a special project volunteer with us,” said Brooke Vis, Heartland Volunteer Coordinator.  “She makes prayer shawls for patients and community members who might benefit from them,” commented Brooke.   

In total, Kathy made four blankets for Michael Kavanagh’s grandchildren.  “They’re fabulous!” exclaimed Molly.  The blankets included their grandfather’s favorite shirts and fleece sweatshirts. “It was so amazing to watch Henry and Jacob put their little hands into the pockets that Kathy had sewn into the blankets,” said Bereavement Coordinator, Linda Wein, who delivered the blankets to the family. Just before Linda left, the family sat together for a photo with their new blankets. “They’ll bring a lifetime of warm and happy memories to snuggle up with!”