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COVITUARY TEAM @ covituary-annamarie-leone
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Memorial

Our beautiful AnnaMarie passed away in the early morning hours of April 6, 2020. We struggle to write a typical obituary because AnnaMarie was not typical. We’d instead like to share some of her history with you, so that you can understand the tremendous impact she had on so many lives during her short 31 years here on earth. Our sister AnnaMarie passed away early this morning. 3:41am on 4/6/2020. I’m sure these numbers mean something to someone. She was admitted to the hospital on March 23, with Covid 19. She was in the hospital 13 days in bed 13 of the icu. So many numbers. I keep thinking about them trying to find meaning. The 23rd is the anniversary of the death of our Nanny. 13 is a good number for Italians and a number that shows up in the Bible a lot. It’s also 31 backwards which is how old AnnaMarie was when she passed. But there is no meaning that can comfort us. My parents shouldn’t have to bury a child and we shouldn’t have to say goodbye to our sister. I’m gonna say something everyone says when someone dies, my sister was very special. But when I say it I can say it with a conviction that is not matched by much. I don’t say this because she is my sister or because she has Down Syndrome. I say this because there is not anyone who has ever met her who wasn’t won over by her warmth and her smile. Even if she sassed you or pranked you or teased you, she did it with such good spirit and love that it warmed you. Take this from the one of her three sisters who she argued with the most. She and I always went head to head, mostly because she insisted she was the oldest sister and therefore she was my boss. My queen actually. She insisted that she was my queen and when I would say, “no mommy is the queen” she would respond “mommy is daddy’s queen, I’m your queen.” Of all four of us, AnnaMarie was the wittiest, the smartest, the most empathetic. She couldn’t do enough for others and even if someone didn’t understand her speech they understood her heart. Like everyone else, she had her moods. There were days she’d say “not today Jo leave me alone” and if I insisted on nudging her she’d put me in my place. Next time she saw me, which was never more than a day later, or sometimes sooner if the mood struck her to video call me, she would say “I love you Jo” and then schmooze me until all was forgiven. That’s AnnaMarie. Annie was a superstar. Literally, there were times she believed she was Selena the singer so fervently that everyone else played into it, too. Although her singing voice wasn’t quite as good (she would beg to differ) her dance moves dazzled anyone who dared to face off with her on the dance floor. She knew every word to every song that she had ever heard, and would sometimes break out into raps that made the rest of us wonder where she came from. Her memory was incredible. Growing up she knew every line to every movie, and it would drive our mother nuts that she wouldn’t do her homework because she “couldn’t remember” what she learned and yet she could reenact a whole movie after seeing it once. That memory made her the official birthday keeper in our family. Ask anyone she loved and they’ll tell you she called them before 8am every birthday to be sure she was their first birthday greeter. Speaking of memories, there are certain memories that if I shared them, Annie would pinch me for sharing. As a child, Annie was mischievous but as she got older she didn’t like when we relived her rebel days. It was actually endearing how she would blush, stare us down and say our name firmly to stop us in our tracks before we could get the story out. But I have to share one. As kids, we shared a room. We actually all shared a room until I was around 18 and Annie was 16. So before our other sisters were born, it was just me and Annie for 7 years. One night while I was sleeping, she slathered me in peanut butter. Literally from head to toe. I must’ve slept like a log because I didn’t wake up. When I did, I couldn’t even open my eyes! They were glued shut with peanut butter. We may have been 7 and 5 years old. I remember she was wearing her mint green silk pajama and I had on a little mermaid pajama. Isn’t it crazy what we remember? It’s little things like that, when I remember them, that bring a smile to my face. The smell of peanut butter always reminds me of that night and will now forever be one of my favorite smells. Annie loved a lot of things: purple flowers, ancient Egypt, foot rubs, face masks, cooking, nature, perfumes, dancing, her summer camp, music, David Archuletta, the Andy Griffith Show, Selena, cute guys, comfortable beds, the movie Some Like it Hot, James Bond, any Jim Carey movie, reenacting “fat guy in a little coat” from Tommy Boy, sushi, video chatting with funny filters on, imitating me, telling our sister Nicole what to do, and teasing us about how Kathleen was her favorite sister, visiting Ireland, being competitive about anything, meeting new people.... the list goes on. She was one of those people who could find joy in anything and that joy was always infectious. You don’t like the movie? Watch it with Annie and you’ll like it because her reaction to it was the best thing you’d experience that day! But Annie loved nothing more than her family.  I can honestly say she had a special relationship with every person we are related to. Being one of the older cousins in our generation, she was around to meet extended family and she was proud to have such a large community of people she loved and who she was proud to be related to. In our nuclear family, our parents and us, our love was palpable. People sometimes ask me and our sisters how we are so close. The answer is always AnnaMarie. She really is the glue of our family. Despite our difference in ages, as sisters we were always connected by wanting to create a beautiful life for our sister who we thought, maybe because of her disability, wouldn’t live as full a life as us. But the reality is she is the reason our lives are so full. She was always our biggest cheerleader, celebrating any little win. Our biggest defender, knocking down any bad thought or ill will towards us with comforting words and a very generous hug coupled with lots of kisses and usually a raspberry - or as she called it a Zerbert- blown into our necks. I can’t stress enough how comforting she was. If we cried, she instantly hugged us and had the right words. She had more empathy in her pinky finger than many people I’ve met.  She adored our parents. I mean really adore. If me or one of my sisters would argue with our mom, she would defend our mother to no end often shouting out “kick her ass mom!” While she was our queen, our mother was hers. And if mommy was her queen, daddy was certainly her king. She would do anything for our father and Tuesday’s were daddy/daughter day where she went to work with him and did her “paper work”. She had big plans for her and my parents - and she made it very clear that Nicole, Kathleen Rae, and I were not to be a part of them; she wanted our parents all to herself. She wanted to move to Ireland - even though she always said she was full Italian and once asked our doctor, Dr. Romanelli, to take all her Irish blood out of her. She loved Ireland because of its weather, its greenery, its cheery and friendly people and mostly because of our family there who never ceased to make her feel special. She wanted to go to Egypt, visit the pyramids and ride a camel. Mostly she just wanted to be with her family. She never understood why we would be late to a family event or leave early - time with family needed to be maximized!  She treasured her time sitting side by side with our grandma, playing on their iPads both of them loving the slots. It took a lot to pry her away from Grandma’s side and often times she would stay at her house until she decided she had enough socializing and it was time for bed. It’s comforting to know our Papa and Nanny went before her and could greet her as she entered heaven. She loved them dearly and always carried their prayer cards. In fact she collected prayer cards from anyone whose wake she went to. She would write down their names in a book she kept, weekly, to always remember them. She honored everyone she loved, even if they were no longer physically with us. She treasured each and every one of her cousins, having little nicknames for them and holding a photo of each of them in one of her many bags (if you knew Annie you know she was a bag lady- once, someone asked her why her bag was so heavy and she responded “I have a dead body in there” - she was so witty I only wish I could come out with one liners as she did). We have many aunts and uncles and most people will tell you they had a special relationship with one of their aunts and uncles growing up. Not Annie. I can honestly say she had something special with all of them. She had a way of making everyone who loved her know that she loved them back ten fold. And the best part is it was not only in words, it was mostly in action. Love in action. It’s a saying I think about a lot. You see, I have a very strong sense of faith. Religion aside, I think we all should live our lives in order to better the lives of others. That was our sister. Her life was pure love. If she was around you her every intention was to laugh with you, bring a smile to your face, and just envelope you in a warmth that I can’t even put into words. I wish I could tell you every little story, every special anecdote to honor her but to also honor her love for her family and even her friends. Through all of this what’s troubling me the most is there is no way me and my sisters can comfort our parents. Annie was always the comforter. And our parents have always comforted us. Our mother, a nurse, is always the one called upon to help others who are sick. And she does so because she loves and when you love you don’t want others to hurt. Our father, a funeral director, helps so many families grieve and mourn their lost loved ones. And now we are in a world where not only have we lost our most treasured AnnaMarie, but we are in a world where there was no cure to heal and no way we can have a proper wake or funeral. It just feels so cruel.  Do I want to be angry? Yes. I’m not there though (yet). Am I sad? Yes - this is the saddest I’ve ever felt in my life. It’s humbling because there have been times I thought I couldn’t get off the floor I was so raked with sobs and sorrow but nothing felt like this. This is paralyzing. And in all this, it pains me even more to know so many people are experiencing such tremendous loss right now over a virus that has run rampant across our world. There is just no sense to any of this. As I said earlier, I am a woman of faith. So was my sister AnnaMarie. Don’t get me wrong, the long masses and readings often put her to sleep - she loves action and comedy and was never a fan of reading unless it was Amelia Bedelia or was acted out very dramatically - but she prayed and thanked God every moment she could. I can hear her now, clap her hands together and say “Thank God!” While she looked up to heaven. It was often followed by “my heart is happy!” It is not lost on me, Annie, that you should pass away and leave your earthly body during this Holy Week, just a few days before we celebrate the rising of our Lord. And so now my sweet sister, with tears in my eyes and a wrench around my heart I proclaim “Thank God! My heart is happy!” because although I am sad, I have joy knowing that you are undoubtedly one of God’s angels and He lent you to us for 31.5 wonderful years where you showed us His love every moment of every day. AnnaMarie is now the guardian angel of her loving parents Raymond and Kathleen, her sisters Josephine, Kathleen Rae and Nicole, her brother-in-law Nicholas, her grandmother Josie, many aunts and uncles, an abundance of cousins. She is smiling upon an innumerable amount of friends and will always be remembered for her warm smile, generous hugs, and sassy dance moves.  As published on Leone Funeral Home Website

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In lieu of flowers please donate to her camp that she loved so much. This will allow more special children to experience the joy that Annie enjoyed for so many years. Donations can be made in memory of AnnaMarie Leone here: http://www.maristbrotherscenter.org/giving.html.

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MEMORIAL FOR:

AnnaMarie Leone

About the Deceased

Name Of Deceased

AnnaMarie Leone

Date of Passing

04/06/2020

Gender

Female

Family

Name of Parents

Raymond Leone, Kathleen Leone

Name of Siblings

Josephine Leone, Kathleen Rae Leone, Nicole Leone