Santa poses with teddy bear for memorial to child

Credit: Thomas Niedermueller

Credit: Thomas Niedermueller

A grieving mother clutching a teddy bear stood in line to see Santa at a Pennsylvania mall.

There was no child with Amanda Berman, only the stuffed bear, named Ian, The York Daily Record reported.

In 2016, Berman's son, Ian, was stillborn, and it has been 15 months since he died. Berman said the pain has not lessened, but the bear helps her cope after it was given as a gift by Sweet Grace Ministries.

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The group gives a basket or bag to families that have lost a baby either by stillbirth or a neonatal death. The group also creates burial gowns from donated wedding gowns.

She and her husband have taken the bear on trips to Ocean City and Hershey Gardens. This year they wanted a photo of Ian the bear with Santa, portrayed by Thomas Timmons.

Timmons told the Daily Record, "When I first saw her coming and saw her carrying the teddy bear, I pretty much knew right away what this was going to be about."

Timmons spent extra time with the Berman family, holding the bear as if it were a baby.

All the couple wanted was one photo, but the photographers who run the event at the mall only offered $30 packages. After reaching out on Facebook, trying to find a location that would do a single photo, strangers gave the family their condolences and support.

I got the idea of taking Ian's Bear to the local mall for Santa to hold from a child loss group I'm in. I thought it...

Posted by Amanda Berman on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Someone offered to pay for the $30 bill at the mall for Berman, who will put the photo in a memorial for Ian.

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