Carmella Giunta was my friend, a very dear friend who always warmed my heart when I would see her at a picnic, or when I visited her in the nursing home. I knew Carmella as Millie. Millie with the sparkly brown eyes. Millie with a beautiful Italian accent. Millie, who loved her family. Millie, who made all who met her feel as though they were family too. Millie loved to cook and crochet. Picture this— Millie, small in stature, dressed in a coordinated outfit, jewelry adorning her wrists, ears, and neck, and fingernails painted a beautiful color. How lovely!
This sweet, adorable, beautiful woman who became a widow at the young age of thirty-six, raised three young children, each one successful in life and filled with love. I am proud and blessed to call all three of my friends.
A few years ago, Millie was diagnosed with Dementia. In the beginning, she was still Millie, who loved company, talking, laughing, and remembering. As time slipped away, little by little, changes, small at first, then growing until Millie lived in a different time and place.
Millie was born on August 10, 1926, and made her journey to heaven on May 15, 2018. This is where Millie’s story ends, and her letter begins…
I remember when I first met you, how sweet you were! Love filled my heart on that day. Your kindness and warm smile tickled my heart, and I knew that I wanted to know more about you. As the years went by, you gifted me and others with the most beautiful crocheted snowflakes. I want you to know that your snowflakes hang from the branches of a unique Christmas tree appropriately named Millie’s Tree. When visitors or family visit, I proudly tell them the story behind your tree.
On many of my evening walks, I would stop in to spend a little time with you. You would always offer me something to eat or drink. But, as your Dementia worsen, you often had a difficult time recognizing me. Sometimes you knew me and called me by name, then conversed in Italian for the rest of my visit.
As the days and months passed, your Dementia took its toll, and finally, you made your journey to heaven.
I can only imagine the wonderful reunion you are having with your family. When I close my eyes, I can see you walking hand in hand with your husband on paths lined with beautiful flowers. Heaven, a place where those who were ill are made whole. Millie, my dear, if I listen carefully, I can almost hear your voice laughing, talking, and remembering everything. Enjoy heaven, Millie!
I will never forget you. I will remember your smile, your loving heart, and how happy you always made me feel.
Ti Amo Millie,