What Would Mom Say? A message of gratitude and wisdom from Ann Marie Pessagno, RN
I recently lost my precious little mom who was a tremendous force in my life. Life just isn’t the same without her here, but trust me, I hear her and feel her every day in the people and places I go! I credit my mom with who and what I am today. She was indeed a powerful force in my life.
As I have struggled figure out what life is without her physical presence, a recurring theme has played over and over in my head – Ann Marie you must tell them! So here I go…
My mom raised ten great kids and she always watched over and mentored us. Most importantly she adored and loved my dad who was her life partner for 63 years. To watch them together in their moments of peace was magical. What I saw were two people who valued each other and whose goal it always was to “have each other’s back.” Their motto, simply described, was faith, family and friends.
But more than a mother and wife she was. Her chosen profession was nursing. And, boy oh boy, did she remind me constantly of how things were done in “her day” and what should be expected of a nurse who met her standards.
In her final hours of life she was surrounded by her husband, ten children, thirty-three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. We sang, told stories, prayed, cried, laughed and laid with her in her bed, just to be close to her. She was comfortable thanks to a phenomenal medical team and was compassionately cared for by a talented and empathetic nursing staff.
So here is what she would demand that I say to you: “Thanks to each one of you who personally comforted me and allowed me to die peacefully with great dignity and respect. I never would have imagined that my profession would honor me with such special care. Please remember that it is the small things that really matter and make a difference – like offering kind words, smiles, hugs and just being there – ‘the special gift of presence.’ Continue to give of yourselves and know what a great privilege and honor it is to be a nurse. I am proud to have been with you in my last days and am eternally grateful to this spectacular AAMC family.” -Ann Marie Pessagno, MSA, RN, NEA-BC