Elizabeth Pierce
Dear Readers,

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.

Love always,

Your blonde daughter (one of my favourite Kuku-isms)
Markos Kounalakis
"Koumbaro" is an empowered role in the Greek Orthodox church - it is the role I cherish most as it divinely entwined me to Kukula and Paul, first in the engagement ceremony and, then, as the wedding proceeded and exchanged crowns sealed the deal. Awe struck me as I stood at the altar, holding my candle, watching Kuku bring brighter light and greater lightness into Paul's heart.

Kukula shared her luminous self to all who knew her. She possessed this mood-brightening, load-lightening, love-awakening quality in abundance and she shared it unselfishly.

On her wedding day, I was moved and honored to bear witness to its mysterious transference from wife to renewed husband and back. My Koumbaro role kept me standing closely, feeling the power of Paul and Kuku's sacred union and the strength of their loving and respectful relationship. The light of Paul's life. Our memories will make sure to keep this light alive, but our lives without Kuku's living, loving power impoverishes us all.
Amy Stackhouse
There is, perhaps, no way of saying something original about Kukula Glastris that has not been said a hundred times, in a hundred ways, over the past few days and weeks, by everyone who loved her.

We’ve all remarked on how kind she was—the kindest person, in fact, that I’ve ever known. As Jim Fallows wrote so elegantly in his tribute in the Atlantic, it’s easy to use superlatives—the kindest person, the most generous person, the altogether best person; it’s less common that these words are actually true. She was many things, our beloved Kuku—wife and mother, surrogate mother and friend, editor and colleague. That she did all of these jobs with so much generosity and compassion, so much unconditional love, so much unrelenting kindess, was always a miracle, and always a gift.

When I first started at the Washington Monthly, eleven years ago this fall, my husband and our then-thirteen-year-old only child, Molly, came to DC to visit, and Paul and Kuku invited us over for dinner (of course!). Hope and Adam were there, and downstairs in the basement with friends. Hope gathered Molly up, and took her down with her—in that spirit of generosity that defines the Glastris Way of Life. We were just embarking on the bumpy ride that is shepherding a child through high school, and Dave and I left saying, These are the kinds of parents we want to be. I said, What a wonderful gift—watching Kuku mother. That is—watching her mother not just Hope and Adam, but everyone in the house. The teenagers, certainly, but also Molly, and us as well.

We were not allowed, it goes without saying, to do the dishes after.

I’d like to think we were okay apprentices in the art of raising multiple teenagers, making a home that’s welcoming and offering food and support and safety and love and a place of joy and laughter. They’ve all left the nest now, but they come back, just like Kuku’s extended family of children all came back—like they’ll still, even in her physical absence, come back. In their tributes to her they use the superlatives we’re all using, and anyone who knew Kuku knows just how they feel.

Oh, how much I’ll miss you, Kukula Glastris!
Mimi Veis
I needed a babysitter one day but instead got a second mother for my daughter, Mira. Kuku and Paul even watched her for 2 weeks while Bryan and I went on our honeymoon. Kuku insisted on throwing me a bridal shower when I mentioned I wasn't having one because the entire wedding party lived out of state. It was Kuku who took care of Mira when she had a meltdown during the wedding ceremony. When Kuku and Paul moved to Chicago, we'd always make sure we visited when we were in town. Sadly, as usually happens, we didn't see each other as much when they moved back to D.C. You always think you'll have more time. But when we did see each other, Kuku and Paul were always the same loving people. Our hearts go out to Paul, Hope, and Adam
Alice Buzanis
Kukula was one of my dearest and sweetest friends. Although I haven't seen her for quite sometime she has always been in my thoughts and in my heart. I met Kukula years ago. Kukula was the most loving and giving individuals I ever met. Her heart was always big and her love for her family and friends was always selfless. The beautiful person she was shines in the beautiful children she raised and the wonderful husband she left behind. I will miss her and send her family my deepest condolences and ❤️ love during this difficult time.
Timothy Noah
In moments like these I sometimes listen to Kurt Weill's "Lost in the Stars," a heartbreaking song from Weill's musical adaptation of "Cry, the Beloved Country." This instrumental version, from 1985, is my favorite. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3B8cvPK3FG0
Greg Garcia
It is just too difficult to accept that such a warm and generous soul could be taken from Paul and all of us so prematurely. Our memories of the many delightful and festive times with her will remain forever vibrant and we will miss her. For everyone she touched she left behind a Kuku-brand smile and hug.