Remebering My Mom

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Francesca Marie Carcaterra Smaldone 

July 29, 1926-April 12, 2020

Rest In Peace my beautiful and funny and amazing mommy.

Remebering My Mom

My dear mother passed away this morning. A devastating way to greet the day, and yet somehow fitting that she should transition on Easter Sunday.

I needed to inform my friends, as there can be no wake, no funeral, and no service, for obvious reasons. But I do want you to know about my mom. Even in this short writing below. A force of nature. My mom.

When the world returns to gatherings again, there will be a memorial. She deserves that and so much more. It is so painful not to be able to properly bury and honor her now, and for me and my family to be with loved ones, as we  experience this profound loss, but we are currently living in unbelievable times. So, kindly read a little about Frances and how she walked the world.

My mom can be described in many ways, but the three words that keep coming to me are brilliant, spirited, loving.

An educator, she spoke four languages, but was most passionate about French. A francophile from an early age, she dreamed of traveling to Paris and other parts of France, and happily was able to accomplish that when my sister and I graduated from Yale Medical School (that was not me) and Fordham University (me) and we three traveled there together.

In addition to her education, her knowledge of the classics, her stalwart belief in learning, her love of people, food, travel ,culture, politics, theatre, opera, museums, she was just plain fun. She knew how to throw a party and be the life of the party. She knew how to cook (my dad insisted on that), she knew how to get on the floor and play with babies, and she knew how to be a disciplinarian with rules, and yet bend the rules at the same time. And she was always teaching. Whether you wanted to learn or not.

My mom was the light of our family and gave of herself effortlessly and constantly. Although she had the spirit of a world traveler, she was able to settle into a life in the Bronx, have a career, raise children, care for her mother and her husband. She was the first one in the family on the phone in a crisis as she knew what to say and what to do.

And she looked great in a dress. Beautiful and elegant, she never believed that to be the case, but it surely was true.

 I will miss my mom, as I still miss my dad, forever, but am grateful for all that she has bestowed upon me, my sister, her sons-in-law and her grandchildren.

Thank you, my beautiful mama for all you have given me, and for who I am today.

Rest in peace and light dear mommy.

Voyager en toute sécurité et bien maman. Je suis ici de l'autrecôté du soleil.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar Ellen Easton says:

    Dear Valerie,
    My deepest condolences on the loss of your beautiful mother. Francesca was an extraordinary woman who lived her life well. May you always feel her with you in your tears ahead. Kindest regards, Ellen Easton

  2. Avatar Rita Silverman says:

    So very sorry to hear about your loss. Your tribute was a beautiful one describing such a remarkable and wonderful woman. So lucky to have had her as your mom. Losing a parent is never easy but what’s going on now makes it even more difficult. Wishing you peace.

  3. Avatar Gabriella says:

    Such a beautiful tribute to your mom Valerie. What a special woman whose daughters will carry on her spirit, her humanity, and her legacy. She will always be with you. Sending a warm hug and condolences to all of you.

  4. Avatar Madlyn Steinhart says:

    I very sorry for your loss, Valerie.
    You were very lucky to have a gem of a mother.
    Shine on for her and because of her.

  5. Avatar jane hanson says:

    To Valerie: my deepest condolences. Beautiful words! To not be able to honor her life right now feels so tragic, yet you will always have her in your heart. My mother left me a few years ago— I think of her every day. And I hear her voice … it brings me tremendous comfort as it will you. Take care and carry out her legacy! that s the best honor of all.

  6. Avatar Noleen says:

    May your Mom R.I.P.and May the good Lord keep you and your family in the Palm of his hands

  7. Avatar Mary Noble says:

    Dear Valerie, Sorry to hear about your mother your words were beautiful. She sounds like an amazing woman just like her daughter’s. My Prayers are with you. Mary Noble

  8. Avatar Ellen Seymour says:

    My heart goes out to you Valerie with deepest sympathy in the loss of your dear mother. I think losing one’s mother, especially one so brilliant, so talented, so loving as yours, is one of life’s hardest passages…and even harder when it is your last patent.

    Although I lost my mother over 20 years ago, and miss her every day, I am comforted by the words of Helen Keller : “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

    Your mother Francesca’s strong spirit will now live on through you…in your writings, your speeches, and in all the ways you magically touch others. We Tomatoes especially will know and feel this.

    Thank you Valerie for letting us get to know your mother through this beautifully moving tribute. Sending warm hugs.

  9. Avatar Ellen Seymour says:

    My heart goes out to you Valerie with deep sympathy in the loss of your dear mother. I think losing ones mother, especially one so brilliant, so talented, so loving as yours is one of life’s hardest passages…and even harder when it is your last parent.
    We know your mother’s strong spirit will live on through you… in your writings, your speeches, and in all the ways you magically touch others. Thank you Valerie for letting us get to know your mother through this beautiful tribute.

  10. Avatar Margaret says:

    So, so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. She sounds as though she were a wonderful mother and human being. Everyone’s thinking of you at what must be such a difficult time.

  11. Avatar Roni Jenkins says:

    What a beautiful tribute. You carry her spirit with you. What wonderful memories and I love the Paris story. There’s no other way to say how much this all sucks and I’m sorry you cannot mourne her properly now. May she rest in peace and may God bless your family.

  12. A beautiful and inspired tribute, overflowing with love and respect. Heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

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