Esther Jean Sutkiewicz (Wagner)
|Also Known As:||"Estusha"|
|Birthplace:||Toronto, ON, Canada|
Daughter of Israel Morris Wagner and Ruth Zelda Wagner
|Occupation:||retired now but worked in sales|
<private> Shay (Sutkiewicz)stepchild
About Jean Sutkiewicz
I was a daughter. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a friend.
I know how to value people.
My eyes see and my ears listen. I am still trying and will always continue trying to grow.
I was born to Moishe and Ruthie Wagner as an eldest child. I consider that I was very lucky to be born a child to my particular parents. They were extremely loving people.
Even though they are no longer here, they are a part of my life in every way. Their wisdom guides me. Their love for me and for my sister and brother strengthens me.
My sister , Evy ,and my brother, Chuck, are superb people, outstanding in their love for family and their level of devotion.
I think of the 3 of us as a unit. We walk through life together.
Our closeness, our involvement with each other comes from a desire to understand each other and appreciate each other. It is the most incredible gift. Evy and Chuck, you are so loved.
My parents were survivors. As I advance into the history of our family tree, I am more in awe of them than ever before.
They each came from such vibrant, large families and they each lost so, so, many. I will never stop being humbled by their ability to go on, to create a new family.
Our parents didn't dwell on the past, although they must have lived with it every day. They made a happy home for us and they gave us the belief that we had a bright future. We did not live with fear but we did live with awareness. They did not speak so much of the Holocaust as they spoke of their families. Their wonderful stories lit up our childhoods and although I never had the privelege of meeting my grandparents, I felt I knew them. I went back to visit my parents' childhood homes together with my parents; all through the stories they told us.
I stood in the dry goods store of my grandmother Esther ; right at the cash register! I looked up at my father as he told so many family stories and I saw the longing in his eyes.
I helped to set the table for Shabbat in my Bubie Gittel's house. I know what color the wood was on the floor and what my grandmother cooked for Shabbat. I walked to the market with my mother and I saw her; I looked at my mother's young face and I saw her clothes. I felt the scratch of the high necked blouses she wore and the over warmth of the dark, opaque tights she had on.
I felt what my mother felt when her mother, Gittel, gave her a few extra pennies to buy cherries. I can taste the juice.
Until the very end, cherries were my mother's favorite fruit and my father brought them many times for her. You know, I can see him in my mind's eye: he with his twinkling eyes, holding out the cherry and she, opening her mouth, ready for him to drop it in. Our father brought cherries to our homes all the time. I guess they represented that EXTRA, that something special which came with such love.
Please let me share some family stories with you. At the end of their lives, my parents lost so much of themselves but they retained the essence of who they were. It is evening in my parents home. My mother and father are sitting on the edge of their bed watching TV together. My father uses his walker to go into the kitchen to bring my mother a gift: the snack he gives her every night: some dry fruit and some chocolate. He feeds her until the plate is empty.
Another story: We are in Miami. My father collapsed in Shul and wound up in the hospital. He needed coronary bypass. As they wheeled my Father into surgery I walked beside his guerney and told him: Don't worry, Daddy. Everything will be fine. In a few hours you will wake up and I will be looking at you and smiling. I love you, please don't worry.
He answered me this way: If you really love me, remember that your mother is the crown on my head. Take care of Mama.
At the end of the Shiva week for my father, the family took the walk around the block to escort our father's soul from the house. My sister walked with me. It was cold and grey. As we held each other and walked we cried and I spoke to my father: I begged him not to leave my mother behind. She was so heartbroken, so ill. I told him: Daddy, you took care of Mama all of your life. Please don't leave her here without you.
We came into the house and all of us, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren went into my mother's room. We sat beside her bed and held her hand. I told my mother how much I loved her and she died. One hour after getting up from sitting Shiva for our father our mother joined him in the World to Come.
There will never be enough space to record all my memories of my parents. They are alive in my heart and with me always. Daddy; Chavy, Chuck and I think of you so often, so many times a day. When we are stumped with a business question, we ask each other : WHAT WOULD DADDY TELL US TO DO, and suddenly, everything is fine, we know how to handle things and we go on.
Mama, I miss you so. I miss your life wisdom. I miss hearing you say: I LOVE YOU. DON'T FORGET HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU.
Mama and Daddy, this tree is for you. You are the centre.
I am married to the most unique, wonderful husband.
Marek Sutkiewicz is a survivor of the Lodz ghetto and of Auschwicz, B6418.
Although Marek knows well how to forge ahead with life, his tie to the past is unbroken. His parents, Leon and Felicia, his younger brother, Ignatz are with him always. The injustice of their death, the inhumanity of the manner of their death haunts him. His rage at this part of his life has never lessened. In spite of it, he is one of the most loving people I have ever known. He understands what a gift time is . He understands how to enjoy life . Marek has enormous confidence. He is intelligent and well read. He is impulsive and extremely generous. He gives with his whole heart. Nothing makes him happier than to make the people he loves happy.
My Marek is a collector; he loves beautiful clothes and shoes. He is an optimist. He is the gift of my life and I am grateful for every minute.
Marek has one son, Eric. I can only say that I have never, ever, met another father and son who were closer. The love they bear each other is unwavering. They work together every day. They have the same sense of humour and sometimes, I think they see out of the very same eyes.
And now, let me tell you about my children. I have three, a daughter, Stephanie, and two sons, Jamie and Daniel.
Can you imagine how I love them?
My daughter has two children of her own, Jody and Benjie. Stephanie is a dental hygienist.
Jay is married to Michelle Goldfinger. They are a happy loving couple. Jay is an actor. They now have a beautiful daughter, Ivy Marlo, who is named for 3 grandmothers. Her Hebrew name is Ruth, Sela, Bronya.
Daniel is married to Regan Leader and they have 3 gorgeous girls, Mel Nya, .Amelia Rose and Vivienne Mae. Daniel works in commercial real estate.
Kindalech, I am so proud of each of you. I cannot imagine my life without you. There is not one minute when I don't feel you beside me, my maidale and my yingalech. Your smiles, your warmth, your love, your help, your support, your respect are so appreciated. You are exactly who I wished my children would be.There is nothing I wouldn't do for you. You are good, kind people. You have loving, giving hearts. When I think of the three of you, my heart is full. Thank you for being my children and for showing us, Marek and me, your late grandparents, your Aunts, Uncles and cousins, such love and respect.
I have some very special people in my life: sisters-in-laws, brothers-in-law, cousins and I have friends; wonderful, special people who have made such a difference for good in my life. As I help my tree to grow, I wish I had a place to put my friends too because they are a constant loving part of my life . I am deepy honored by their love for me and their devotion. I have learned so much from all of you. Thank you for being who you are and for choosing me as your friend.
After reading what have written about who I am , I realize that who I am is really about the people who have been and continue to be part of my life. All of these loving and loved people are who I am.