‘Tell my daughter I love her’: ICU nurse delivers mother’s last words

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane woman and her mother both battled COVID-19 in the intensive care unit at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.  

She survived, but her mother – who was in the room next door – did not. 

Nurse Jeremy Mullavey helped both women. For nearly 10 months, he has been carrying a message from a dying mother to her daughter. 

4 News Now spoke to Mullavey as part of our “Inside the ICU” story. After it aired, we received an email from Alyssa Crosby.

That special message was intended for her.

“Within eight hours, I’m on the ventilator. I mean, was taken out of here in an ambulance because I couldn’t keep my 02 above, I think it was 86 with oxygen on ¾ percent,” Crosby recollected. “And then I’m intubated, so I don’t know what’s going on with my mom. Next thing I know, I’m off the ventilator, my mom’s passed.” 

On her deathbed, Crosby’s mother leaned over to Mullavey and said “Tell my daughter that I love her.” 

Alyssa and her mother

Mullavey wasn’t able to get the message to Crosby before she was released from the hospital. 

In the months since, Crosby has suffered from the long-term effects of her COVID diagnosis. Mullavey has been working hard taking care of ICU patients. 

Crosby’s mother’s dying words have weighed on him since, but he was finally able to pass the message along.

“Your mom’s last words impacted me greatly,” Mullavey told Crosby when they recently met in person. “I thought about you and your mom on and off for the last year.” 

Finally being able to pass the message along opened a floodgate of feelings and emotions. 

“I have three kids myself and a fourth on the way, so it impacted me. Also, for the families, the families that we weren’t able to rejoice with,” Mullavey said. “We watched their patients recover and go upstairs and get discharged out of the hospital, and more specifically for the families that we had to show their loved ones dying on the screen.”

Crosby only has a vague memory of her time in the hospital. She believes she spent 33 days on a ventilator and 44 days receiving care. 

Mullavey said it was “heartbreaking” that his team wasn’t able to reunite Crosby with her mom. 

But Crosby sees it a bit differently.

“I just know that she’s not suffering up there,” Crosby said. “She’s watching every moment of my day and I’m sure she’d be thrilled that you guys kept me going.” 

RELATED: Inside the ICU: An exclusive look inside Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center’s intensive care unit

READ: Inside the ICU: The story behind the 4 News Now special report