By Luke Kenton
This is the tear-jerking moment a dying mother clings on to her very last breaths in her hospital bed to watch her daughter graduate, before tragically passing away shortly afterwards.
During the final stages of her 10-month battle with breast cancer, in Burlington, Vermont, USA, 55-year-old Patty Parrotte overcomes a ‘miracle’ to ensure she sees her youngest child, Samantha, graduate from high school.
After spending several days in a state of unresponsive psychosis, rendering her almost ‘unrecognisable’, the mother-of-four stuns her family as she says, ‘sorry for the way I look’, to the teachers conducting the special ceremony, providing a glimpse of the ‘woman she was before the illness’.
As the Graduation March begins to play, in walks 18-year-old Samantha, clad in her white gown and mortar, rousing a smile of unbridled pride and joy on Patty’s face for the last time, before leaning in close and whispering that she ‘loves her’.
Persevering through the relentless pain, Patty fights fiercely to stay conscious as she claps along to congratulate her daughter, leaving Samantha’s dad, Todd, in tears.
Eldest daughter, Dorothy Donahue, said: “In the days leading up to the ceremony mum had been in so much pain.
“That’s why this day was such a miracle, she managed to find her way back to us just one last time.
“She was always a self-conscious person, she never knew how beautiful she was. So, when she apologised for the way she looked, I knew she was back with us.
“It was our mum lying there that morning, it had been a while since we’d caught a glimpse of the old her.
“We’d arranged, with the help of a few teachers at my sister’s school, to hold a ceremony just for her.
“It was an unbelievable moment, our happiest moment in a 10-month period of hardships and suffering.”
In August 2016, after a number of unexplained rashes and bruises appearing all over her body, Patty was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune disease.
Tragically, just a few months later in March, while she was being treated in hospital, Patty’s eldest child, Robert, passed away unexpectedly from an accidental overdose.
In April 2017 Patty was informed that the cancer had spread to her spine.
Just minutes after Samantha proudly showed off her diploma to her mother, Patty once more slipped into an unconscious slumber, but this time she wouldn’t awake again and sadly died two days later, on June 9.
Dorothy said: “Mum hung on for Samantha’s special day, and it was a miracle.
“I initially thought about pushing back the ceremony a day, until we had moved her into a near-by hospice.
“Looking back, I’m so glad we didn’t because I honestly don’t think she would’ve made it.
“My sister wanted our mum to see her graduate more than anything, and now the entire family has this wonderful memory to hold onto.”
Samantha added: “I think after seeing me graduate she thought she could finally let go, and even though her job as a mom could never really end, at least she knows that I’m an adult now.
“This graduation a real moment of light in great darkness for our family, and I’m so amazed and happy that she managed to wake up for it.”
Samantha will be attending a local community college beginning in September where she will study to be a nurse.
Dorothy said: “I worried about Samantha throughout all of this, but she has always been wise beyond her years, she’s so resilient.
“I made a promise to my mum that I’d be there for Samantha just as she would have been.
“I can’t wait to see her go out and achieve her dreams, I know she’ll see mum within herself and use it in her work, which will help her to become a better nurse.”