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story.lead_photo.caption Erendira Guerrero makes stuffed bears for people who lost a family member to COVID-19, using one of the deceased's articles of clothing, at her home workshop in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Guerrero. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- At a small home workshop in this Mexican border city, Erendira Guerrero makes teddy bears from the clothing of covid-19 victims so their relatives have something to hold onto.

Years ago, as Ciudad Juarez suffered jarring levels of violence, Guerrero started making the bears from clothing those victims had worn. The pandemic has created a new population of distraught customers searching for ways to maintain contact with a loved one taken away suddenly.

She estimates she has made about 200 bears for the families of covid-19 victims.

"Due to covid-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members," Guerrero said. "They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them."

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Relatives bring a favorite shirt or other item and Guerrero carefully pins on the patterns for the bear's arms, legs, torso and head. She charges about $30 for a bear and attaches notes that sometimes read, "This is a shirt I used to wear, whenever you hold it know that I am there. Love, Dad."

On Monday, Araceli Ramirez showed a picture of her father wearing the shirt while holding her bear made of the same fabric. Lorenzo Ramirez died so quickly from covid-19 two months ago that she was unable to say goodbye.

"I can talk to the bear, express what I didn't tell him, and feel like he is with me," she said.

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Stuffed bears ready for delivery sit in the home workshop of Erendira Guerrero, who has been making the bears for people who lost a family member to COVID-19 using one of the deceased's articles of clothing, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Guerrero. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Araceli Ramirez shows a stuffed bear she had made from the shirt of her father, Lorenzo Ramirez, who died so quickly from COVID-19 two months ago that she was unable to say goodbye, as she stands outside the home of bear maker Erendira Guerrero following a TV interview, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Ramirez, who had the bear made from a warm winter shirt her father loved, said "I can talk to the bear, express what I didn't tell him, and feel like he is with me." (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Araceli Ramirez secures a stuffed bear she had made from the shirt of her father, Lorenzo Ramirez, who died so quickly from COVID-19 two months ago that she was unable to say goodbye, as she leaves the home of bear maker Erendira Guerrero after coming to do a TV interview, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Ramirez, who had the bear made from a warm winter shirt her father loved, said "I can talk to the bear, express what I didn't tell him, and feel like he is with me." (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Erendira Guerrero cuts pieces from the shirt of a person who died of COVID-19 as she makes a stuffed bear for one of the deceased's relatives, at her home workshop in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Guerrero. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Tags ready to be sewn onto bears made for people who lost a loved one to COVID-19, out of one of the deceased's articles of clothing, sit beside a sewing machine in the home workshop of Erendira Guerrero in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Erendira. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Tags ready to be sewn onto bears for people who lost a loved one to COVID-19, made out of one of the deceased's articles of clothing, sit beside a sewing machine at the home workshop of Erendira Guerrero in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Erendira. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Erendira Guerrero stands at the door of her home, holding one of the stuffed bears she makes for people who lost a family member to COVID-19, using one of the deceased's favorite articles of clothing, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Guerrero. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Shirts of people who died from COVID-19 hang in the home workshop of Erendira Guerrero, who uses the clothing to make stuffed bears for family members mourning their loved ones, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Erendira. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Jaime Walfre Aguilar Martinez, whose 50-year-old father died of COVID-19 in November, selects one of his father's favorite sweaters to have a stuffed bear made from the fabric, at his home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Erendira Guerrero, who makes the bears in her home workshop, said, "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them."(AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Jaime Walfre Aguilar Martinez, whose 50-year-old father died of COVID-19 in November, picks out a tag to have sewn onto the stuffed bear that Erendira Guerrero will make for him from his father's favorite sweater, hanging right, in Guerrero's home workshop in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them," said Guerrero.(AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Pictures of Jaime Aguilar Rojas, who was 50 when he died of COVID-19 in November, adorn an altar in the home of his son, Jaime Walfre Aguilar Martinez, who has decided to have a stuffed bear made from the fabric of his father's favorite sweater, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Erendira Guerrero, who makes the bears in her home workshop, said, "Due to COVID-19, many people were left without closure, because they couldn't say goodbye to their family members. They need to close the circle. The bears are helping them."(AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
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Araceli Ramirez holds the stuffed bear she had made from the shirt of her father, Lorenzo Ramirez, who died so quickly from COVID-19 two months ago that she was unable to say goodbye, as she sits outside the home of bear maker Erendira Guerrero, where she returned for a TV interview, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Ramirez, who had the bear made from a warm winter shirt her father loved, said "I can talk to the bear, express what I didn't tell him, and feel like he is with me." (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

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