"Sanja told me that my mom had her promise that she'd be there ... and always be there for me and she has been," Edina Habibovic said

By Joelle Goldstein
February 05, 2021 02:46 PM
Sanja Josipovic with Edina Habibovic at her nursing school graduation
| Credit: Northwestern Medicine

An Illinois nurse has carried out a promise that she made to a dying patient four years ago by attending her daughter's nursing school graduation — even when the initial ceremony got canceled.

Sevala Habibovic died on Dec. 24, 2017, following a two-year battle with breast cancer, Good Morning America reported.

Prior to her death, Sevala, 46, had formed a close relationship with her home health nurse, Sanja Josipovic, and had asked if she would attend her daughter's graduation and pinning ceremony in her place, according to the outlet.

"That was the only thing that she was going to miss, Edina's graduation," Josipovic told GMA. "So, I said, 'I will be there.'"

As December 2020 approached, Josipovic planned to be by Edina Habibovic's side as she graduated from Chamberlain University's College of Nursing & Public Health in Chicago, GMA reported.

Edina Habibovic with her mom, Sevala Habibovic
| Credit: Northwestern Medicine

But then COVID-19 hit, ultimately causing Edina's graduation and pinning ceremony to be canceled.

Wanting to do something special, Edina's manager at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton — where Josipovic also now works — decided to host a pinning ceremony for her, according to the outlet.

True to her word, Josipovic was in attendance and got to present the pin to Edina — officially carrying out the promise she made to Sevala four years ago, GMA reported.

"Sanja told me that my mom had her promise that she'd be there ... take her place in the pinning ceremony, and always be there for me and she has been," Edina, 22, told GMA.

Edina Habibovic at her pinning ceremony at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital
| Credit: Northwestern Medicine

It was a bittersweet moment that Edina admitted wasn't always on her radar.

"I thought the medical field wasn't for me. Then, my mom got sick and I had all the experience going in and out of the hospital," she explained to GMA. "When my mom passed away I thought, 'Well, I want to do this. I want to make the same impression on somebody else's life.'"

During Sevala's cancer battle, Josipovic started caring for her at Sevala's home through her job with Northwestern Medicine in Winfield, according to the outlet.

The two were quick to form a friendship, bonding over the fact that they were both Bosnian refugees and mothers. (Josipovic has three kids, while Sevala has an older daughter, Emina Habibovic-Bolt, GMA reported.)

Sevala Habibovic with her two daughters, Edina Habibovic and Emina Habibovic-Bolt
| Credit: Northwestern Medicine

Eventually, Sevala's health began to decline, which is when she proposed the idea of Josipovic taking her place at Edina's graduation, according to GMA.

"She was most worried about Edina because she was young and hadn't finished school yet," Josipovic recalled to the outlet. "We developed a close bond, like sisters really."

"She was a powerful woman, strong-minded," Josipovic added. "She wasn't scared to die, she was just worried about her kids and husband [Seval Habibovic]."

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With her promise to Sevala now fulfilled, Josipovic plans on continuing her close bond with Edina for years to come.

And they're already well on their way, as the duo are now working alongside each other as nurses at Marianjoy Hospital, GMA reported.