Lacramoira Lazar, Whitby Co-op
Lacramoira – also known as Maria – was grieving the death of her husband when a friend gave her a puppy, Gia, who has brought love back into her life
My name is Lacramoira but those close to me call me Maria. I came to England in 2014 to work and have a better life. I worked in an ice cream factory, sausage factory and other factories on an industrial site in Darlington which meant I could look after my family and send money home to Romania. But after a while, there was no more work for me on the industrial site because it wasn’t busy any more.
My husband had a heart attack and could not work anywhere and I needed to get him money for his medication, check-ups and special diet. In Romania, you have to pay for medical services if you don’t have a job. I found out about The Big Issue from a friend. I started selling the magazine for the first time in Teesside and I was there for about four or five years. After a while my husband had a second heart attack and he left me forever.
This news was drastic for me. It broke me down physically and mentally. So this is how my husband died at the age of 50, after 32 years together through many good and bad times.
I felt that everything around me was ending. But after many days crying, God raised me from that bad state and saved me from the shadows of darkness around me. I realised I had to move forward with my life.
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I returned to England for work, but I couldn’t find anything so I started selling The Big Issue again. By that point, there was someone else on the Teesside pitch so I was offered one in Whitby by the Co-op.
I am at my pitch every weekday from 10am until 5pm. Some days it is busy and some days it is quiet, but I have some customers who support me every week. I really want to thank the customers who buy a Big Issue magazine every week because, thanks to them, I manage to support myself.
I also want to thank the staff at the Co-op store. I love everyone, especially Andrew, the manager who offered me a nice place at the entrance of the store to protect me from the cold and the rain. I pray to God for their health.
I have been so happy for the last two months because I have received a special puppy from a friend as a gift. Her name is Gia. She fills that void in my soul and she is part of my heart. She is my special little girl. She is warm and tender.
I spend all my time with her. I don’t think I can live without her any more. She helps me sell the magazine on my pitch. She is my little baby. She is very friendly and playful. This is why many people love her and play with her and this makes me very happy.
I haven’t had this kind of companionship since my husband died. If I could speak to my younger self, I would say that things are good now. Things are good for the moment. I managed to pay for my flat and I managed to survive myself. Things are good.
Maria and Gia thank everyone for supporting me in what I do and I wish them all the best. I want to encourage people to smile even when they are sad, because it might mean someone will fall in love with you.
Interview: Isabella McRae
Co-op Food - Whitby, Langborne Road, Whitby, UK