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
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.
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 Patricias 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. Patricias husband suffers from Alzheimers
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 Patricias falling body. She later
said that everything went black.
The next thing Patricia could recall was people
calling her name, but she couldnt 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 wont ever
take my life for granted—ever, ever again. You only have one
life, and if you do get a second chance, its a miracle. This
one changed me.”
Keith Wichinski, RN
CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline
Corpus Christi, Texas