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