June 10, 2015 11:27 AM EDT

A 92-year-old Dallas woman adopted her 76-year-old cousin after a relationship that has spanned more than six decades, WFAA in Dallas reported.

Muriel Clayton began to care for Mary Smith, her younger cousin, after Smith’s father died decades ago. Smith’s mother was still living, but illness prevented her from caring for her daughter. Though Clayton wanted to ask Smith to formalize their relationship earlier, she waited until her biological mother had died.

On Tuesday, the pair went to Dallas County Court and legally became mother and daughter.

“I have worked jigsaw puzzles, and my life had been a beautiful picture. But one piece was missing, and that was Mary,” Clayton said. “And now I’ve got that piece in place. Officially!”


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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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