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The ‘glue’ of the family: Helen Curra has spent a lifetime putting others first

Helen Curra didn’t just raise four children. She raised a village. Anyone close to her knew they could ask her for anything at any time, and they would get the help they needed.

Helen has always been a caretaker and “super mom” in every sense of the word, according to her son Pasquale and daughters Jessica, Krystle and Milena.

“She’s an extremely passionate, driven woman,” Pasquale said. “She’s constantly doing things for everybody else, making sure everybody else gets where they need to be. She’s pretty much the primary caretaker for everybody. She’s that super mom so to speak.”

Helen’s greatest impact went much deeper than the day-to-day challenges of being a parent. She has always been quick to help, of course, but she is also the bedrock of the family through good times and bad.

Helen projects strength even in her weakest moments, Pasquale said. It’s a legacy and attitude that has spawned the same attributes in her four children. And in the respect of raising thoughtful children, Helen has made the world a better place in her own unique way.

“I think my perspective changed when I first moved out of the house,” Pasquale said. “I realized how much she had done for us and how difficult it was for her to be able to do all these different things while still being the foundation of the family.

“When things are rough, she’s still projecting strength for everyone around her, even though she may not be feeling the same way inside. That, to me, is one of her most admirable qualities. It’s a kind of quiet courage, you know?”

Helen’s heart for service has been passed along to her children, they all say. Through her lessons and their own observations of the way their mom carried herself, each of the four kids find some of her tendencies in themselves.

“She’s always telling me I’m exactly like her,” Milena said. “I’m always putting everyone else before myself or I’m going out of my way for people I don’t really know, just trying to make people feel really comfortable.”

Milena might remind Helen of herself, but Krystle says with a laugh there should be no debate over which sibling is Mom’s favorite.

“I’ve always been very close to my mom,” Krystle said. “She’s been my best friend since I was a kid growing up. She gives very good advice, and I’ve always taken her advice to heart. When I was younger, people used to call me her shadow. They still do. I’d still say I’m her favorite.”

Whether they want to call their mom the bedrock or the heart or the “glue” of the family, a consensus emerges among Helen’s children of just how important she has been guiding them through life’s challenges. Still, Helen doesn’t reserve that gift for just her family or close friends.

Strangers on the street are better for running into her.

“I wouldn’t say she enjoys doing it,” Krystle said. “But she likes to help people and is kind of the glue that holds everybody together. Even with her own siblings, she’s the person people come to.

“She’s easy to talk to. People open up to her easily. Random people will just show up and tell her their whole life story. She’ll meet someone at the grocery store and they tell her their whole life story. She’s very warm and people just open up to her.”

The tone Helen sets is one of selflessness, but also of diligence and responsibility. Her approach has evolved as her children have gotten older, Jessica said. She respects their free will and now walks the fine line between informing their decisions without making choices for them.

“My mom has been my role model my entire life,” Jessica said. “She always puts her best foot forward in everything she does. She puts everybody before herself, and she does anything she can for the people she loves. She’s always been very supportive in terms of my goals and things of that nature.

“Even right now as I’m thinking of moving away from home, she is very supportive of that and that I want to challenge myself.”

Helen and husband Ralph challenged their kids from the beginning to do things the right way, to keep the right company and to value their family.

Her actions in those matters spoke louder than words.

“One of her favorite things to say is, ‘Show me your company and I’ll tell you what you are,’” Milena said. “She places a value on who you interact with and who you spend time with and that affects who you are and how you’re seen. She told us to be careful who you trust or who you have in your circle.

“It was really important for her to make sure we all took the right path, just making sure we have the best and making sure everyone had the best possible outcome in life.”

Now, that attention shifts to her new granddaughter. Pasquale and wife Melissa welcomed Giuliana Grace into the world last month.

Helen has been ecstatic about growing her family and she’s been involved from the beginning, Pasquale said.

The perks of being a grandmother are many, not the least of which is to enjoy the benefits of young children without the hard work of being a caretaker. Helen is having it both ways for now.

She’s basking in the glow of a young granddaughter. She’s also supporting Pasquale and Melissa and whatever basic needs they have as young parents trying to find their way.

“She wants to visit as much as possible,” Pasquale said. “She’s mentioned on a few occasions how Giuliana has made her days so bright. She was obviously extremely excited, not just for me but to take care of another child now. She loves it. She loves her granddaughter.”

Giuliana is lucky for knowing her.

So are the many others whose lives Helen has touched.

This story was written about an amazing mother for Mother’s Day. MyFrontPageStory.com specializes in writing full-length feature stories for all kinds of occasions, milestones and much, much more. Learn more about what we do here and please contact us anytime.

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