What she meant to me.

I became a part of the Kimutis family more than 30 years ago. The first time I visited St. Louis, is a memory I will never forget. John and I were engaged so it was too late for everyone to give him advice to move forward without me. I celebrated my 29th birthday with breakfast in bed, served to my by mama. She made me feel welcome immediately and i began loving her in that very moment.

I had no intention of calling anyone mom besides my own mama, who if here, would have been 90 this week, however, I began calling her mama or Marzy with ease.

Since Joe’s death nearly ten years (wow) ago, I looked to mama in another way. Like her, my son died the day after my birthday. She was a model to me. She showed me that it is possible to stand and walk upright after the death of a child. She showed me that joy is again possible. I will be forever grateful to her for that.

I loved laughing with mama. She and I laughed hard and often when we spoke or spent time together. Her child-like outlook on life is something we all enjoyed seeing.

When we were in St. Louis in August she said to me, “I wonder what it will be like to die?” I told her, “Well, Marzy, my wish and prayer for you is that you fall asleep. You begin to have a wonderful dream of your husband and son. They are standing with outstretched arms. With them is Joe, and please give him a hug from me. Your own mama and dad and everyone else you have loved is standing there. You think you are having a wonderful dream but it is heaven and everyone is there.” She smiled and said, “Well I would like that!”

She and I talked about legacies. I told her that I don’t know another family of adult children who are all so kind, caring and loving. Now there are grandchildren and great grandchildren continuing her love and kindness and that right there is her legacy. She didn’t need to look far to see the product of her love and kindness. She made a joke and then said, “I think you are right.”

I have read every book on death, dying, heaven etc. in the last decade. I have read there is a life review. You feel all the joy and/or pain that you have placed on others. I’m thinking mama’s review is one of only joy.

Since my mom’s passing five years ago I would tell Marzy even more than usual, how much she meant to me. It is said that when you lose one parent it is a comma, when your last parent leaves, it is a period. I would tell her she had been a wonderful bonus mom. We laughed and cried together.

I am so sorry that I am not able to travel and be with everyone for her funeral.  I am sorry that I cannot be there with the kindest man I know who is always there for me. With a compromised immune system,  I will have to wait until we find a new normal without Covid to see everyone.

If I learned anything since Joe died it is that we really don’t die. I feel him around me whenever I ask for him. The same is true of my parents. I ask for signs and I see them. I will now pray for and to this lovely bonus mama. She will always be as close to all of us as our own beating hearts.



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