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Answering Machine a blessing? Mona’s story.

         I had a best friend named Mona whom I lived one door down when I lived in New York. We lived on the end of the building and Mona and her kids lived one door down. This made for great times. Looking back, I truly felt for our next door neighbor that dealt with us screaming over the fences to one another.  In my late teens/early twenties, I would often go over to her house and just talk. She has two boys and one girl (which would happen to me years later,) that I was in awe of how she was raising them. Their father was in their lives but I spent more time with her and the kids. She loved to barbecue. My mother would say, as the screen door was open, “there they go again, barbecuing!” I would quickly run over with hotdogs or whatever I would want to barbecue as we really didn’t do that much barbequing until I met Billy. Yes, in the dead of winter, snow piled three feet high, she was barbecuing! She would scream over the fence for me to come over. And I did, every time. We started a friendship that I loved. When Billy and I got married, we of course, invited the whole clan. 

    I loved that red dress. That was her. We all had the best time at the wedding. At the end of the wedding, Billy and I were saying goodbye to our guests and then we looked at each other and said - um, how are we getting back to the house? We never made “those” arrangements. Thank God, Mona forgot something in the hall and saw us and said she would take us back to my mom’s house before we left on our honeymoon. Big dress and all, we all squeezed into the van. She also graciously offered to take us to the airport in Queens, New York. No short ride. As we were getting near the airport, she missed the exit and yes, she backed up on the highway and got off the right exit. Thought I was going to die before the honeymoon even started! 

    Fast forward to when I thought I was pregnant with my first born. I went to the doctors office to make sure I was pregnant, and got the news that I was indeed expecting my first born. Got  home to run over to her house to tell her first. She stood there with tears and we hugged and cried. Didn’t even tell Billy or my mom yet. That was the special relationship we had.

    Then it was time for us to move to Missouri. Days leading up to us leaving were awful. We would see each other on the sidewalk and just cry. The night before we left, we hugged so long and wouldn’t let go. The next day we were off  to Missouri to start a new life.

     I would send “snail mail” to her as I did not have a computer, pictures of the kids or at Christmas time that Christmas photo card with the kids in their Christmas outfits. I loved that she told me the picture was up on their refrigerator. Made me feel that she wasn’t going to forget us.

        We went back a couple of times but then there was a longer break between visits. I had Maria during the summer of 1996 and going back to New York proved harder with three little ones. It was May of the following year when I got a package from  Federal Express, from Mona. I was so excited to open it up and see she had gotten me an outfit for Maria, along with a hand written stationary card. The outfit was adorable and she also included pictures from her daughters college graduation the weekend prior. Looking at the photo, you are looking at it from her eyes as she took the picture.

    Still makes me smile that you know how proud she must have been to see all three of her children graduate from top schools as in Michigan State, Duke and University of North Carolina. Remember there was no applying to colleges online. I remember seeing all the stacks, upon stacks of papers, applications on the kitchen table. She was the super mom who did it all. Drove them with the rental truck to their college dorms, dropped them off and called to tell me how sad, yet proud she was of them.

    In her card she said that she will try not to let so much time go by before I hear back from her. I totally understood. Having three children now - I get it. I called around 6 o’clock that Friday evening and left her a message that said, I got her package and loved the outfit and card and how I loved the picture of the kids. I went on to say, not to worry about not getting back sooner and as I was ending my message, I said to her “I love you so much my friend, and we’ll talk soon!”

                 The next day, my sister called me at one in the afternoon with news that Mona had passed away last night.   I told her that was impossible as I got this gift and card and left her a message last night. My world stopped.    I was blessed to have gotten the chance to attend her funeral a few days later and my heart was crushed to see her children.              

        I was hugging her daughter and told her of the day I got the package and how I left her that message. She didn’t know what message I was talking about as their answering machine light was not on and there was no new messages. It was at that point, we had figured out that Mona had listened to my message  before she passed away. How blessed, how blessed was I that my friend heard the words “I love you my friend and we’ll talk soon” before she left this earth. Don’t you see, you never know when you do something that will affect your life forever. I take that blessing with me everyday. Every day I look at my two boys and one girl and think, would Mona say that or do that for her kids. 

     I love you Mona and miss you more everyday. You would be so proud of the way your children are now as adults. I know we will see each other again and I hope you are proud of the mom that I have become. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.


  1. I've been following your blog since you started writing. Your a wonderful writer and i admire your stories. You seem like a great person. Can't wait till your not blog (:

  2. Thank you so much. I miss my friend everyday and never take anything for granted. Thank you again for your comment as that means the world to me to hear from people that read my blog!

  3. wow Dina, you truly outdid yourself this time! The tears and tears of sadness and I know joy deep inside them (those tears) continue to come out! What a gift you just gave me and my family. Me, too, sorry it's been so long since corresponding...but we both know how life goes. I don't even know where to begin to thank you for such a beautiful story of our mom and yes the lovely Mona. And, on the heels of my engagement (well June 4th, my finace Anna's birthday), mom I shouldn't say I guess, would be so of her too many final wishes coming true. The wedding to the woman of my dreams mom will be Saturday October 22. I hope you'l be watching and smiling with joy.
    Ironically, I just spoke with our other neighbor we were oh so close to Joyce Kleiman, who said mom is looking down proud. I hope and I know I think she is. She was as you said the joy of our and so many people's lives...I really hope she knows that up there right now. We were so lucky to have such a wonderful loving mother, it's hard to believe she has been gone from this earth for 14 years. However, I know all of us in this world deal with too much pain at times, many who can't survive it. We're (her 3 children) are lucky for the strength she bestowed upon us so we could keep on pushing forward.
    My brother and sister never understood why I couldn't and didn't cry the day of her funeral ceremony. The pain THEN as it is now, is still so great and large, but at least now I can let it out at times like this. Dina, I don't know how I can ever thank you for such a beautiful thing of expression and love for our mother, your friend, a sister, cousin and all-around loving giant hearted woman. She left this earth way too soon, but thanks to such touching words like yours she will never be forgotten by any of us. Not, that she ever could be, she was simply that kind of person...that type of woman who lit up a room and pulled people toward her including her children, friends and family and so many more. Fortunately, before she left this planet she knew how to enjoy herself and the life she led and was trying to lead. Mom, I know I speak for everyone when I say "I love you so much...more than you could ever know or imagine. And, like I said 14 years ago, rest mom, but now keep on smiling and laughing too because you deserve that and I guess so do we. God only knows, I miss you so so much mom. Bye for now with all my heart your son KY. Thank you Dina all my love to you Billy, the Kids and Susie. God Bless

  4. Ky, your words mean to the world to me. We really did have great times back in New York and how we laughed. I miss your mom everyday and feel blessed that God brought her (and you guys) into my life. Congrats on your engagement and I'm sure your mom is smiling down. Please keep in touch my friend and let's not let time pass us by.

  5. Dina, Kyle sent me the story about Mona and It brought back so many wonderful memories for me. It's a wonderful story and I want to thank you for sharing it.,,,,,,,,,,Joyce Kleiman

  6. Oh thank you Joyce. We were truly blessed to have her in all our lives. Glad you like it. It really does mean so much to have these comments. Continued blessings to you all!

  7. Just beautiful, Dina. Thanks for sharing this...

  8. Thanks Ali. I miss my friend so much but am happy to have the memories I have. Thanks for reading :)