What Would Mom Say? A message of gratitude and wisdom from Ann Marie Pessagno, RN

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


  1. Posted by Sharon Wilks, at Reply

    Dear Ann Marie,
    This is a beautiful tribute to your mom. She has certainly left a wonderful legacy as a mom. Thanks for sharing what she would say with all of us.

  2. Posted by carol Namo, at Reply

    Ann Marie,
    What a great mom she was. What a legacy to leave behind. Thank you for sharing with us. May the sweet memories of her continue to guide you as continue on in her footsteps. She must have been very proud of you and loved you very much. May God continue to bless and keep you and comfort your heart.

  3. Posted by Sherri Morgan-Johnson, at Reply

    Ann Marie,

    What a powerful tribute to your mom. Although, I only met your mom briefly, you exemplify her spirit in the lives you touch daily- including mine. Thank you for sharing your mom’s story and the kudos given to all her AAMC caregivers.

  4. Posted by Michelle Perkins, RN, CWON, at Reply

    Your story made my eyes swell with happy tears. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Posted by Mel, at Reply

    Ann Marie,
    I don’t know you and did not have the pleasure of knowing your mom, but it sound’s like she was an extraordinary person. I lost my mom several year’s ago and there’s not a day that goes by that she is not in my thought’s. I miss her so very much.
    God bless you and your family and keep your faith. Mel

  6. Posted by Bridget, at Reply

    What a remarkable woman, thank you for sharing her story.

  7. Posted by Nancy Long, at Reply

    Anne Marie,
    What a beautiful heartfelt story about your special mom.
    Makes us all want to be better moms and people!
    God bless you and your family.

  8. Posted by Kevie, at Reply

    You never really lose someone you love. A part of them you take with you and you leave a part of yourself behind. She must have been a GRAND lady to forge such devotion. Wish her Happy Birthday for me.

  9. Posted by Denise, at Reply

    Ann Marie,
    What a beautiful tribute to your mother. I thank you for sharing this with all of us. These life events though sad remind us of God’s grace and mercy.

  10. Posted by Nancy Faust, at Reply

    Presence. What a simple yet extremely powerful word. It is an honor to be allowed to have presence in the short time we have with our patients. Anne Marie thank you for having the strength to remind us all of the difference nurses make.

  11. Posted by Trudy Land, at Reply

    Ann Marie,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. May God provide you and your family strength now and always.
    Trudy Land

  12. Posted by Geri, at Reply

    Anne Marie,
    So sorry you lost your Mom. As you were blessed to have her, she was blessed to have a wonderful daughter.

    You beautifully articulate a legacy of love. Her faith and kindness live on in the future of your family.

    My sincere sympathy,

  13. Posted by Heidi, at Reply

    I don’t know of a better time to say ‘that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. Ann Marie was blessed to have a ‘life mentor’. What a beautiful tribute to a remarkable soul and profession.

  14. Posted by Carol, at Reply

    Ann Marie–

    Thanks for sharing with us all …. peace, thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  15. Posted by Shannon, at Reply

    Ann Marie- What a wonderful tribute to your mom. I am thankful for the chance I had taking care of and meeting your mom, you and your family. Her words made a huge impact/impression on me.

  16. Posted by Deb, at Reply

    What an amazing tribute – and now that I have dried my tears, I feel compelled to say that the apple did not fall too far from the tree. Your mom would have been proud !

  17. Posted by Carrie Jackson, at Reply

    What a wonderful posting, Ann Marie. How special to have everyone surrounding her, 10 children… 33 GRANDCHILDREN & 5 Great-Grandchildren! What a wonderful legacy and testimony to her amazing life.

  18. Posted by Kelly Penrose, at Reply

    Ann Marie, what an inspirational person, and a great story that every nurse should read. We need to honor our past as we go into the future with the technology of healthcare. We need to remember why we got into nursing, espcially when we are having difficult days….

  19. Posted by katie, at Reply

    AMP, what a beatiful tribute and great lessons to live by! Thanks for sharing your story and imparting your mom’s wisdom to us. God bless to you and your beautiful family!

  20. Posted by Chad, at Reply

    Thanks for the reminder of how special moms are and the values they instill. You are an inspiration, too!

  21. Posted by Sharon Borland, at Reply

    Ann Marie – that is a beautiful tribute to your mom, your entire family and the nursing profession. AAMC truly is an amazing place made up of amazing people…..thank you for sharing.

  22. Posted by MarLou Klamp, at Reply

    Wow Ann Marie- What a beautiful tribute to your Mom. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her, but I’ll bet she would agree..

  23. Posted by Christine, at Reply

    I only met Ann Marie’s mom for a few minutes and she made a tremendous impression on me. I think she was a powerful force in the lives of many. Her love for her family and her profession was remarkable. I am glad to have met her, even if it was for a brief moment. We are in such a special position to be able to support families and families during their time of need.

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