August 2000

Mary Pellegrino
My Mom, The Professional

by Linda PELLEGRINO

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In all my mom’s 70 years...I believe she has never been happier than right now. Why? Because she is as needed now as she was when she had four little kids running around. Being needed is incredibly intoxicating and a basic human need (there’s that word again) for happiness.

Aside from her adoring kids and her husband of almost 50 years who’s still in love with his girl with the Boston accent...My mom has found a way to channel what she knows best into a part-time profession. She is technically an employee of “Companions Plus”, but to 89 year-old Rose Lapardo she’s like a member of the family.

Years ago, my mom worked as a nurses aide and, more recently, as a volunteer for Hospice—so she’s stayed current in the medical field. “Companions Plus” allows her to attend Rose and other people who need non-medical care. In other words, just a little help here and there getting dressed, bathing and making sure she eats balanced meals. She says the job is like a bridge between the hospital and home—the independence means the world to people like Rose. Sometimes their day includes lunch while watching “Ciao Italia” with Chef Maryann Esposito...Other days they host the grandkids from downstairs. It doesn’t seem to matter much, it’s a symbolic relationship that fulfills them both.

It is so gratifying to know that my mom is still meeting goals and challenges...And as she puts it, “still learning”.

I continue to learn as well. You can love, be loved, be busy, be thought of and be valued...But there’s something about being needed that puts a spring in mom’s step and a rose in her heart.



Linda Pellegrino is host of AM Buffalo on WKBW-TV Channel 7.

 

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