Miracle Moments

RANCIS JOSEPH ANTHONY MUSSEY was an Italian immigrant who moved to Philadelphia, where he made his home. He married an Italian woman, had 13 children, and worked hard throughout his life as a truck driver for the Philadelphia Inquirer. A tall, strong-willed man of Sicilian descent, he was a proud, respectable father. He always gave what he could, making certain his family never went hungry.

Patricia, his second youngest child, shared a special relationship with her dad. Patricia was liked most of all by her father, because she reminded him of his sister, Teresa. Patricia could remember sneaking out with her father on Sunday afternoons for a beef sandwich and quiet conversation.

“Don’t let your mother know,” he would say. They would sit together and discuss her week at school, her studies and teachers. “Always remember, Patsy, you can only do the best that you can,” he would tell her.

As time went on, Patricia married and moved away. She had five children and became twice divorced. Despite being a single mother for many years, her father was always there to support her whenever the need arose. When Patricia’s father died of a massive heart attack, she took it very hard.

When I first met Patricia, she had just arrived from Philadelphia to care for her daughter who had undergone back surgery recently. Patricia’s husband suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and was also unable to care for himself, so she was taking care of both her daughter and husband at the time. She began experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms that continued to persist, so she went to the doctor and was hospitalized immediately.

Several tests were performed, and it was determined that Patricia would need open-heart surgery. However, the procedure would not be done for several days, as her heart needed time to rest. Later, as Patricia was resting in her hospital room, dizziness suddenly overcame her. She frantically grabbed for the call bell. “Code Blue, Code Blue!” the doctor yelled, as a group of people rushed toward Patricia’s falling body. She later said that everything went black.

The next thing Patricia could recall was people calling her name, but she couldn’t answer. Beside her, gently holding her hand, she could sense a presence of strength and solitude. And then she heard a voice say in a stern, proud Italian accent, “Patsy, everything is going to be all right,” No one ever called her Patsy, except her father, who died 23 years earlier. It was then that she felt peace, and was certain that everything was going to be all right. Just as Patricia had been there for her father, he was now there for her.

After hearing this story, I had the pleasure of visiting with Patricia about her experience. “God has time for us in every way,” she said. “There is a time for us to stay on this earth and a time to leave. I feel in my heart that God sent my dad to let me know that everything would be OK. I realized that I had been given a second chance. I won’t ever take my life for granted—ever, ever again. You only have one life, and if you do get a second chance, it’s a miracle. This one changed me.”

Keith Wichinski, RN
clinical coordinator
CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline
Corpus Christi, Texas