It was a tender opening of Cake Boss this first season episode. June 22, 2017, Mary Valastro passed away from ALS, and Cake Boss devoted the being of the new season to her honor. The first scene was an empty and quiet bakery. Next, Buddy tenderly shared video footage of the funeral, and all the family had a moment to let everyone know how it was to be with Momma Valastro for the last moments in her life.
In typical Italian tradition, the funeral procession would have passed by Momma’s house, but the family made the decision to take the procession by the bakery, stop and say a prayer, and give the chance to say goodbye to the bakery on her behalf. They had done so for his father, and they felt it was appropriate for her as well.
They also graciously shared footage of the wake held in her honor afterward, with Buddy serving as master of ceremonies. They played footage of Momma in the bakery in her typical take-charge manner. All the guests at the wake had another time to enjoy hearing Momma and reminiscing about the fun they share together while she still walked this earth. Classic Momma, she was emphatic about not having any sexy cakes. She said, “I don’t care, I want to go to heaven when I go.” She was completely decided that there wouldn’t be any sexy cakes at Carlos’s Bakery, and that’s exactly the way Buddy says it will stay.
The family thought again about all the hard work Buddy’s father and Momma put into making the bakery a success. He said that he wouldn’t have been the same person is now without her guidance. She remains his hero. All of her family members took a turn at the microphone. Without a doubt, everyone mentioned how important family has been in their lives. The videos of Momma continued, including treasured vacation times in addition to the everyday workdays at the bakery.
Buddy said that Momma missed her husband every day after the day he died. Buddy said that a part of her died when he did. The sisters mentioned that they felt she was happier being with him now. She was a force of nature, even as she suffered with ALS. Buddy said that she was “a burst of energy” and he already misses her.
What an amazing gift Buddy Valastro has given to his Cake Boss audience in this episode. Rather than being only sad, the family has shown that family experiences are life-affirming, and that family can continue on with memories, even though the person who has passed on will no longer be there. The rich experiences the Valastro family shared are the same as families everywhere. We all do the best we can to raise our families, to cherish them, and to make life’s moments meaningful. Momma’s consistent gratefulness for family and for work in the bakery infused her family for generations. More than that, the vibrancy and cheerfulness the family has shared throughout life has buoyed them all and given them strength for the tough times. Momma’s faith kept her moving forward through the difficult times of ALS, which she struggled with for 10 years. Her family learned how to walk through life with appreciation, because of her. Buddy promised his mother, before the viewing audience, that he would carry on the family legacy of the bakery, and that he would honor the vows he made concerning life.
The family went to the shore after the wake. Bella, her granddaughter saw the sun shining through an opening in the clouds, though the day had been cloudy. Bella jumped out of the pool, and shouted to her grandparents and waved to let them know she was there to greet them. The family is certain that Momma and her beloved husband are both in heaven together, and that they saw Bella’s greeting. What an amazing thing! Tender. Yes. Sensitive. Most certainly. Though some may feel the episode inappropriate, it’s almost certain that Cake Boss fans don’t feel that way. They understand.