Stasia Syta drove in the blizzard to pick up food for Christmas Eve. She never came home

Just before 2pm on Friday, Stasia Syta left her West Side home for Broadway Market as a powerful blizzard hit Buffalo.

Secretly, the 73-year-old went out to collect carp and herring for Wigilia, the traditional Polish Christmas Eve banquet.

She didn’t go to market.

And she never came home.

On Sunday night, two family friends found a snow-covered Chevrolet Cobalt buried in deep snow off Route 33 and called Sita’s daughter, Eddie, to tell her she was afraid. I told you the news.

“I just don’t know why people went out there. I don’t know what they were thinking,” Edie Syta said in a 75-minute interview. “And I just feel broken. I feel helpless. I feel sad. I feel angry. That’s my main emotion. I just want to hit something, right? And I need her here. It was too early to go.”

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Stasia Syta is one of nearly 30 people known to have died in last weekend’s storms, with a horrific toll likely to rise in the coming days.

Syta grew up in Poland, where she married and had twins, Edyta and Peter. The family moved to the country in 1979 or 1980, she said, Edie Syta.

“My mother always talked about how hard it was in Poland under communism,” said Eddie Sita, an art teacher in Buffalo. “And they figured they could have a better life here.”

Sytas has moved closer to Broadway Market on Buffalo’s East Side. Stasia Syta cleaned the Liberty Building office and the office of a company that makes boxes for retailers.

After the death of her second husband, Sita moved into an apartment near her daughter, under her son.

An early riser, Stasia Syta sometimes goes to her daughter’s house and ties a bag containing yogurt, a fruit cup, or a bottle of juice to her driver’s side mirror so Edie Syta can get some nourishment before she leaves for work. Did.

“She was such a beautiful person,” said Eddie Sita.

Sytas held a garage sale selling Christmas trees, pumpkins and produce. Customers from Gowanda ordered Stacia Sita’s homemade farm cheese, potato or onion pierogi.

Stasia Syta poses with daughter Edie’s dog, Milo. Stacia Sita, who died in a blizzard in Buffalo last weekend, said she loved Milo and enjoyed making her own Rozo, the Polish version of chicken noodle soup. She said, “Mom always said, ‘Milo is a handsome boy,'” said Eddie Sita.

Photo credit: Edie Syta

This year, Stasia Syta, Peter Syta, Edie Syta and her partner Greg Weigel will meet on Sunday instead of Saturday for a feast of fish, potatoes, rye bread, beetroot soup, pierogi and kapusta (Polish). It was planned. Characterized by stewed cabbage.

Around 7pm on December 23rd, Edie Syta was crouching at home when her brother called.

“He’s like, ‘Edie, I gotta tell you something.’ And I said, ‘What?’ said Eddie Sita.

Edie Syta said she calmed herself down before calling her mother.

“‘Mommy, where are you?’ I said. She said she was going to the market for fish. I said, ‘Why are you doing that? Who cares about fish?” And my mother said, “I need it for Wisilia.” And I said, “OK, Mom.” I said, ‘Wait a minute. I’ll call you back,'” recalls Eddie Sita.

At this point, the mother had been stuck in the snow since 2pm. When her mother asked why she hadn’t called sooner, Stasia Syta replied in Polish that she was confused.

Stasia Syta couldn’t say for sure where she was. She mentioned the park, which Eddie Sita thought meant Delaware Park.

She urged her mother to roll down the window and find a landmark to see if she was near a house that could let her in. Stasia Syta said she couldn’t because the windows and doors were frozen. rice field.

Edie Syta spoke with her mother four times between calls to her family and the Buffalo Police Department.

“The last words my mother said to me were, ‘I need a miracle. I need a miracle from God.’ And she said, ‘Pray for me.’ And I said, ‘Mommy, I love you. I’ll be praying for you.’ said.

Shortly thereafter, Edie Syta and Weigel tried to put the four-wheel-drive pickup on the road. Peter Syta was on the phone begging his mother to wait a little longer, but he couldn’t get through the snow on the driveway.

After 9 p.m., Edie Syta called her mother several times without answering.

“I said, ‘Maybe she went to a shelter,'” Eddie Sita said.

Edie Syta said he made repeated calls to agencies including the Buffalo Police Department, the Erie County Storm Number, the State Police, and the New York National Guard.

Some said they were in no position to help. She said the others never answered. One wondered why her mother failed to heed blizzard warnings and travel bans.

She is angry and frustrated at the inaction and the victim’s blaming.

On Saturday, Edie Syta and Weigel tried to move the pickup again but failed.

On Sunday, Weigel walked most of the way from his Westside home to Agassiz Circle near Delaware Park to look for her.

Later that day, Edie Syta, Weigel, and her brother had a meal that was supposed to be shared with Stasia Syta.

“We just wanted a Christmas miracle,” said Eddie Sita.

Instead, her phone rang at 8:30pm. Weigel’s two friends, Scott Mayer and Brian Hawkins, who knew and loved her Sita, most likely drove from North Tonawanda to the market. followed the route.

They dug deep drifts and checked each snow-buried vehicle before finding Syta’s red cobalt along 33 near Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Hawkins switched the call to FaceTime and left his phone in the car to reveal Stasia Syta’s body. Her jacket was unzipped and her phone was placed next to her. Edie Syta said her mother died of cold or carbon monoxide poisoning.

She, her partner, and her brother soon began sharing stories about their mother.

She said Stasia Syta is an eclectic dresser with a penchant for bright colors and has attracted attention on excursions to the neighborhood.

“She had the most bubbly personality,” said Eddie Sita. “She lived poorly, but she was very happy.”

Eddie Sita’s grief over her mother’s death is magnified by the knowledge that more bodies will be found as the area is dug up.

“So many families will be devastated,” she said, blaming the lack of preparation for the storm.

Sytas will hold a service for her mother at the St. Stanislaus Church and then scatter her ashes in Lublin, Poland, where Stasia Syta lived.

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