The mother of a young man who died after inhaling gas in Qormi last March said that “no mother envisages experiencing such a difficult loss and no parent is prepared for their child’s death. No mother gives birth to their children, to then end up attending their funeral.”
Interviewed by the Malta Independent on Sunday on the occasion of Mother’s Day, the first she will be spending without her son Ramiro, Marylis Mallia is still to come to terms with her grief and loss of a child.
Mother’s Day is usually meant to be a day of celebration and showing thanks, but for someone like Marylis it can be incredibly hard as it reignites the sorrow and pain of having lost a child and a loved one.[embedded content]
Ramiro tragically lost his life in Qormi on 23 March 2021, after losing consciousness due to a gas heater leak. It is believed that the gas leak from the heater in his bathroom of his home led to carbon monoxide poisoning.
At just two years and nine months of age, Ramiro had been diagnosed with leukaemia but survived the illness and was declared cancer-free a couple years later. As a result, Ramiro spent most of his life raising awareness about the Puttinu Cares Foundation, the Karl Vella Foundation and other organisations to help cancer patients and those in need. From the very moment Ramiro’s tragic death was announced in the media, countless tributes poured in, clearly showing the love and admiration people had towards him.
Speaking about her first Mother’s Day without her son, Marylis said that during the past week, many memories of Ramiro have come up in her mind, making it very difficult.
“We are trying to plan Mother’s Day by spending it all together as a family. Our plan is to go to the cemetery to visit Ramiro and then spend the day outside,” she said.
Marylis described Ramiro as a loving, caring, kind, altruistic and trusthworthy person. “He meant the world to me and our relationship was a very positive one. He was always the type of person to think of others and seeks to take care of them, even his older brother.”
Ramiro’s girlfriend, Shanise Chetcuti, said she is still shocked and speechless at his sudden loss. She said that their relationship as a couple was a very positive one as Ramiro was the perfect boyfriend. “We argued like every other couple but he was always the type of person who wanted to resolve an argument before we went to bed.”
He urged me to reconcile our differences and arguments as he always said: “you never know what might happen one day.”
Marylis expressed her sorrow at her son’s sudden demise, saying that Ramiro’s loss left a missing piece in her heart. She recalled that when he was diagnosed with leukemia at a very young age, although it was a difficult experience, they were prepared with what was to come as they knew that the situation could lead Ramiro to either one of two paths.
‘Within less than 30 minutes he was gone’
“Thankfully he survived and was deemed cancer-free. However, losing him in this way was sudden and absolutely shocking. Within less than 30 minutes, he was gone,” she said.
It was reported that Ramiro was given first aid by a medical team on site, but died after reaching Mater Dei Hospital.
Marylis adds: “After experiencing this life-altering moment and tragic loss, I try to look at life through a different perspective and try my absolute best to live to the fullest. Although I cannot enjoy life in the same way that I used to as there is a very big piece of me missing, I try my best to do things at the drop of a hat. If I wake up and want to go out, I just do so.”
Asked whether she tries to look at life through a more positive lens considering that Ramiro had an optimistic character, Marylis said that “many people tell me that I have three other children to make up for the loss of my child. However, it takes a lot of courage to take care of the other three… courage that I currently do not have.”
“The most difficult moment so far amongst many following Ramiro’s passing was the moment I had to register his death. Instead of the process being done because of my death, I was doing it because of my son and parents are simply not supposed to outlive their children. I have spoken to many mothers who have also lost their child and everyone seems to say that it takes time for the pain to subside. We can only hope that time will be enough,” Marylis added.
Ramiro & Friends
Marylis said that she wanted to commemorate her son by establishing a foundation in his name. She recalled that her son was a very helpful and caring person, thus his dream was to help those people in need.
“We are determined to make Ramiro’s dream a reality,” she said.
Ramiro & Friends is a Facebook page which was recently set up by Ramiro Mallia before his passing. His aim was to raise awareness about cancer survivors, and help foundations such as Puttinu Cares, Malta Community Chest Fund (MCCF) as well as Karl Vella Foundation.
Marylis explained that this organisation will continue to grow, and with the help of the former President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, arrangements are being made to establish a Foundation.
While Ramiro left far too early in life, it is clear that he was loved by many and will never be forgotten.