Four months after her death, daughter thanks the nurse who spent those final moments with her mom

COLUMBIA (WOLO): Columbia resident Vanessa Patterson passed away from COVID-19 in October. She was a mother, sister, grandmother, and friend. Now four months after her death, Patterson’s daughter wants to thank the nurse who spent those final moments with her mom.

“She just looked so vulnerable and sick ya know, and that hurt, but it also just showed me that even in her darkest, hardest times, she still loved and she still was her,” an emotional Maryann Wines said.

It was the last photo taken on her mother’s phone. Maryann Wines found it when she received her mother’s things from Lexington Medical Center the night of her passing in October. It wasn’t until February that Maryann decided to share the photo on Facebook, with hopes of saying thank you to the nurse in the photo.

“I know that she wanted that picture taken for a reason. I just want to say thank you for being so kind to my mom.”

In about an hour, she was found. Leah Heinzen has worked in the COVID ICU since last March. “I got a friend request on Facebook and I saw this picture of me and her mom, and I actually had thought about that picture quite often cause I remember taking it and what we did that day, and I was brought to tears, seeing the comments about how she was trying to find me, ” explained Leah on how her and Maryann connected.

She says she only cared for Vanessa for one day, but it was enough to leave a big impact.

“She loved people, loved to chat, she loved to take pictures, hug, tell her whole life story. So whether it was a day or a few hours, I know that that picture meant something to her,” Maryann said. 

“It was an honor to know that me just doing my job and something I love to do has helped people and made them feel comfortable,” said Leah.

In sharing her mother’s story, Maryann sheds light on the people behind the numbers. “Everybody here knows your loved one is not just a number. All the lives lost in this matter, not just my moms.”


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