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A Mother’s Love
by Lauren Searson
There is something truly wonderful about the relationship Carmella Cultraro shares with her daughter, Dr. Conny Cultraro. It goes beyond their similar way of speaking and how easily they feed off of each other’s witty comments. When taking a more in-depth look at these women, one can see the perfect embodiment of the mutual care shared between adult children and their parents. Today, the roles are switching as many children want to act as caregivers or, as in Conny’s case, ensure their parents will have the best living arrangements suited to their needs. It is the increasing desire to return the care and support these individuals have been given throughout their lives.
So what advice does Conny have to offer those also caring for their loved ones? “It needs to be their decision as to what they do next,” she said, “It’s like raising kids, you kind of just have to sit back and let them do their own thing.”
And ultimately, it was in fact Carmella who decided to live at Kensington Park in Maryland. Before she even stepped foot in The Highlands, the exterior of the community’s independent living residence brought back memories of her quaint Massachusetts hometown. “When I saw this place with the porch and rocking chairs out front, it reminded me of Newburyport and I said to Conny, ‘This is it,'” said Carmella.
“She was kind of stubborn about it too,” Conny added with a laugh, “I wanted her to have something to compare it to, but she’d have moved in that day if she could.” Although they visited other prospects, Carmella’s quick decision paid off, as she and her nearby daughter cannot speak highly enough of her experience at the beautiful hillside community.
Carmella was born in Haverhill, MA and moved to Newburyport where she resided for several years. While visiting her uncle in Italy in 1957, she met his neighbor, Concetto, and fell in love. A year later, they were married, and Concetto moved to the U.S. to be with his new bride. Having worked as a service representative for a New England telephone company for 25 years, Carmella retired early. The couple then left their home in Seabrook Beach, NH, and ventured down to Florida where she lived a total of 24 years despite Concetto’s passing. When she was hospitalized on four different occasions, however, she knew she needed to be near Conny, her only child. “It was foolish of me to stay alone down there because I had no family,” said Carmella, “And Conny was traveling down all the time to see me when I was sick.”