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June 24, 1957 ~ October 24, 2021 (age 64) 64 Years Old
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Compassionate, courageous, giving, and resilient, are just a few sentiments that describe Menila Vertus. Born June 24th, 1957to Desisis Vertus and Delcamise Josias, in a small village (Nan Café), in La Gonâve, Haiti, the last of 11 children (8 girls and 3 boys). At an early age, she took her responsibilities seriously, as she was expected to contribute to the household by tending to the garden, growing fresh fruits and vegetables, and then selling them at the daily marketplace. From there, her love for gardening and flowers blossomed.
As she entered her mid-twenties, she gave birth to her first child, Bosne. She often described him as full of energy and joyful. Unfortunately, heartbreak would come knocking when Bosnewould fall ill and die suddenly after. It is then, she promised herself that if she ever gave birth again, she would fight to give her children every opportunity that she wasn’t afforded, that Haiti lacked.
July 26th, 1981, she held true to that promise and embarked on a courageous journey, by sea, to America. Hunger and desperation caused many to not survive the journey, but her faith fueled her determination, arriving to America August 25, 1981. As she stood on the shores of the Biscayne Bay, in Miami, FL, alongside her cousin, Marie Soius, she felt nervous, but hopeful; she had made it! Upon entering the country, she would meet her future husband, Oreste Audain. Together, they moved to Fellsmere, FL, but eventually settled in Gifford, FL.
In October of 1982, she gave birth to Obneil; then followed Samuel in August of 1983 and Barry in April of 1985. She desperately petitioned God for a girl and he heard her prayers, giving birth to Dariana in December of 1986, followed by the baby of the crew, Vinesse in November of 1987. She transformed that Victory Park apartment into a home, with her love of crafting, decorating, and plants.
While her gift of gardening followed her to America, working the orange groves of Indian River, it was her duties as a mother that brought her the most joy…not just to the children she birthed, but the neighborhood children as well, as they affectionally called her, “Mommy.” Many in the Haitian community would often stop by for a hot plate and Thanksgiving dinners were rooted in the sense of love and community; all were welcomed. This gave evidence to her giving heart, believing that no one should leave her home empty handed.
In 1994, Oreste would ask for her hand in marriage, but it was important to her that they both committed their lives to Christ first, so they received the gift of salvation later that year. On August 23, 1994, her and Oreste became husband and wife. Menila’s love for God continued to grow, becoming a member of Premier Christian Church. Together, they worked hard to raise children who understood the principles of allowing God to be the head of all matters and the importance of an education. Menila and Oreste ensured all 5 of their children would graduate high school and eventually matriculate to earn college degrees. This is what made her the proudest, as a mother.
By 2016, all of her children relocated, causing the void in her heart to grow; she longed to see her sisters and family that she had not seen since 1981. So, in September of 2018, she made the journey back to Haiti. Greeted with love and excitement, her family welcomed her home. Her days were spent decorating and preparing her new home for when her husband and children would come to visit. Sadly, the last planned visit never happened.
On October 24th, 2021, her earthly duties came to an end, as she passed away in her sister’s arms. She is survived by her husband, her 5 children, 6 grandkids, 6 sisters, and a host of nieces, nephews, and other family members, who will miss her dearly.