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Maria Angelica Mares, 61: Johnny Cash's 'I Walk The Line'

Courtesy of the Mares family

Updated June 15, 2021 at 1:22 PM ET

More than 600,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.

My mother liked Mexican country-style songs, from the likes of Dueto America, Antonio Aguilar, Jorge Negrete, Juan Gabriel, Johnny Cash and other similar artists. When my mother was alive, she would listen to this style of music when in the car and on the porch listening. She would sing out loud and I will always remember the smile and happiness she had. She was a happy and joyful human being. My mom would sing and would be smiling. She was someone who liked to have company around and her face would just glow in the presence of others. She was a happy person.

The music that my mother listened to had meaning, heart and soul. It reminds me of the good times that we had together. Spending time together at different places, such as at the park, mountain, the beach and restaurants. For example, the song "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash would remind me of my mother because in the lyrics, "I find myself alone when each day is through / As sure as night is dark and day is light / I keep you on my mind both day and night / And happiness I've known proves that it's right." My mother has and will always be important to me. I will miss her deeply. —Lionel Mares, son

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