Grandma Is Devoted To Transforming Old Wedding Dresses Into 'Angel Dresses' For Deceased Babies

It all started with a trip to a thrift shop. One woman in Minnesota found an old wedding dress for the bargain price of 50 cents, and she had a great idea about what she could do with it.

She wanted to make angel gowns out of the fabric. These special angel dresses are created with very special babies in mind: babies who have become angels themselves all too soon.

For Tess Soholt, babies who die very young or who are born stillborn touch a particular nerve. She is a retired labor and delivery nurse, and her first delivery was heartbreakingly a stillborn.

Over the years, she's seen many families who suffered a tragic loss at a time when they should have been celebrating in joy.

It hit home with Soholt as a grandmother, when her little baby grandson died at 18 weeks into his mother's pregnancy.

His name was Andrew. He was born stillborn.

His mother and father got to spend a few precious moments holding him and taking pictures of him before they had to say goodbye. It was devastating.

It was shortly after that loss that the grandmother discovered the wedding dress and got the inspiration for making angel gowns. Now she's helping herself, as well as other grieving families.

Soholt gets donations of wedding dresses from people all over now. She loves taking something that was part of one person's joyous occasion and using it to help another person with their grief.

She makes beautiful little angel clothes for families suffering the loss of a newborn.

“I hope this tiny little gown can help some of the pain they are going through, to hold on to the remembrance and not forget that little life,” the grandmother said. “It’s a loss you carry with you for a lifetime.”

Some people accept the gift and like to keep it in their memory box. It becomes a lovely keepsake of their little angel.

Other people like to dress the baby in the gowns to bury the baby in them. Soholt feels the gowns comfort the family by validating that the baby was here and touched their lives.

'Andrew's Angel Gowns' was born in Soholt's basement, but now she has a small army of volunteers who have taken up the mission. Many people who hear her story are touched, especially when they have suffered loss themselves.

One person who tries to help her get the dresses is the owner of the thrift shop where it all began.

“She told me and I was like, wow. I got goosebumps and from there it has a life of its own,” said Sharon Fischman, who owns Empty the Nest Thrift Shop.

The gowns seem to be therapeutic for those who make them as much as they are a comfort to those who receive them.

The newly made angel dresses are distributed to hospitals across Minnesota, and Soholt and her volunteers hope one day to be able to provide every little lost angel with a special angel gown.

To date, Soholt has sewn more than 250 gowns, each one stitched with love and care, and 75 bonnets. Each one is made perfect and unique, to honor the life of the little baby for whom it was made.

Source: Little Things
Photo: KARE

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