Missing You

23 years ago today, my beautiful and elegant mother passed away after a long battle with leukemia. Nick and I were on a plane back from the Philippines, desperately trying to get to her before she went – we didn’t make it. There was a moment, about an hour outside of New York, when I looked out the plane window and saw the sun coming up. In that instant, I knew deep down that she was gone.

What I didn’t know then – and what I wouldn’t know for years – were all the things I wish I’d known to say to her while she was alive. It took becoming a parent, nurturing a long and good marriage, dealing with my daughter’s difficulties as a teenager, wrestling with my own spiritual growth and search for purpose – and, of course, by then it was too late.

It is a truth that you don’t feel any less orphaned just because you’re an adult when your parents pass. My parents are both gone now, and there are still days I feel bereft. Today is one of them. I miss you, Mom.

Jan DeGaetani

3 replies
  1. Shelly Miller
    Shelly Miller says:

    My mother is still alive, but we haven’t spoken in fourteen years due to unfortunate circumstances. So thankful for you that the time with your mother is fond, that you can look back on your relationship with joy. And though your heart longs for that relationship, what a gift God gave you in a mother who loved you well. Some of us may never experience that. I noticed my name on your blogroll and I just wanted you to know that I’m grateful and its so nice to meet you here. That photo is gorgeous, she was truly elegant.

    • Francesca
      Francesca says:

      Thanks for writing, Shelly. My relationship with my mom was incredibly complicated – I was a hard kid to raise, and she was well-intentioned. We did the best we knew to do, that’s certain, but I really regret the opportunities we missed to love each other well. And I especially regret that I didn’t have a chance to apologize for the things that were mine to apologize for – I just didn’t know they were mine until too late. I don’t know your circumstances, of course, but fourteen years is a long time. Reconciliation and restoration is a worthy goal in any circumstance, but especially in a relationship as vital as the one between a mother and daughter. I hope there will come a time when it’s possible for you and your mom.

      I am truly glad to host you on the blogroll – I love your writing and the transparent way you talk about your journey. I’m grateful to you for stopping by!

      Blessings –


  2. Debbie Marucci
    Debbie Marucci says:

    Francesca, I was just looking through the pictures and writings about your mom, and remembering going to hear her sing when I was in my teens. She had such an incredibly beautiful voice. You look just like her. I plugged your name into the internet search, and found you! We are 2nd cousins; My mom was Kathy Ruetz Henderson, dtr of Ernie and Chris Ruetz. Jan and Mom were born mere days apart, and grew up together. Jan was a bridesmaid and sang in Mom’s wedding, and they were both flower girls for Uncle Roy’s wedding. I just found that wedding picture – they were both very cute kids. My mom passed away last October. I am fortunate to have had her in my life as long as I did. I would love to connect with you if you want.


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