I wanted to share with you an email that I wrote to Hope and Paul about my Kuku, who as you can see via the below correspondence, I always referred to as "Mama", or "my Greek Mama", though she was formally saved in my iPhone as "Greek Mommy". For those of you who I haven't yet met (I hope to meet you soon!), I am (self-proclaiming myself as!) Hope's best friend from college.
I am not editing the below for perfection, or for sharing, as I wrote it completely uncensored, and would have wanted Kuku to see it the same way:
To my family that I love and will always love so incredibly much,
It is hard to find the words to say during such an unintelligibly devastating and difficult time. For example, "difficult" is an excruciating understatement of a mere word, which is why I have decided to write from the heart this morning with simple uncomplicated terms or expressions.
I am writing today with an extremely heavy heart, but one that is full of an absolute over-abundance of love and gratitude for the woman that helped shape me into the person I am today.
I have been listening on repeat to Mama and I's favourite Fleet Foxes song, "White Winter Hymnal", which will always remind me of the snowy mornings I rode into work with her. During these drives, we would regularly comment on how lucky we were to have each other, as well as how fortunate we were that our families were so close; despite the fact that they still hadn't known each other for as long as it seemed they had. We would pass Embassy Row and comment on how much we loved DC, which would then prompt a discussion about how happy the two of us were that I had decided to move from Boston. Kuku and I were always giggling and gushing over the things that we appreciated and loved about one another, as well as about our beloved "Greek" family. And oh Lord did we talk about how much we loved Hopie. We schemed daily on how we could get her back with us in the District!
Mama taught me so many things simply by means of her (signature) selfless example. The thought that I am the 73867845738 person to comment on the fact that she is the kindest, most loving, sweetest and most gentle human being that I have come to know, is a massive testament to her character.
I told Hope recently (and will eternally agree) that there is not a soul on this earth who has ever made me feel as warm and special as Kuku did. That tiny and powerful woman had a way of hugging that genuinely made the world stop. Her embrace always immediately put me at ease, and when I was in it, everything felt right.
Being in her company also always inspired feelings of gratitude and contentment within me. She had a way of making me recount all of my blessings, as well as gently nudging me to find the beauty in everything. Kuku is an absolute radiant beam of light who means and represents to me everything that is kind and maternal, patient and wise, resilient and brave, and incredibly special in this universe. She possessed an ability to unknowingly generate joy and positivity to all of those within her presence. And simply by way of that beautiful and warm smile of hers.
I would not be half the woman that I am today without her guidance. I have spent my morning recounting all of my favourite memories with her while consciously wearing grey (a calculated decision in lieu of wearing black) in her honor. I remember I was attending a friends' wedding in DC once and had stayed over with Kuku so that she could help me get ready the next morning. I was feeling self-conscious because my dress was too informal and seemingly mundane in its drab grey color. When I walked downstairs to show her, her face lit up. "Oh honey, you must be the only girl in the world who can pull off a shade of grey like that! You have so much color in your personality that it suits you enormously! You will absolutely be the life of that wedding!" I remember laughing because she clearly knew me so throughly that she preemptively knew I would regret choosing that color in particular. That's Mama for you. She makes you feel good. And she sees the good in all of us. And that's why I will be sporting this color all damn day long in her memory.
In conclusion, I will never take for granted the enormous blessing that I was afforded in knowing Kuku. To know her is to know true joy and radiance. It is to know happiness in its purest element. And for that, I feel eternally appreciative and endlessly JOYFUL. She will be in my heart every single day of my life from here on out.
Kuku, thank you for showing me everything I know through your graceful composure, compassion for others, steadfast thoughtfulness and admirable selflessness, and Joie de vivr!
I will see you guys this month to hug you and to love you and to spend time with you. That mere thought of being with you soon is what is getting me through everything at the moment. I love you more than I can ever explain.
Your blonde daughter (one of my favourite Kuku-isms)