"My mother, who had a full career, stopped working for two years to be with me everyday while I was ill," Rossellini, 63, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue

By Jodi Guglielmi
Updated December 04, 2015 03:30 PM
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Credit: Ryan Pfluger

Most of the world remembers Ingrid Bergman as one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, starring in films such as Casablanca and Notorious, but for her daughter, Isabella Rossellini, the memories of her mother that stand out the most have nothing to do with her career.

When Rossellini was just 12 years old she was diagnosed with scoliosis – a severe curvature of the spine – and underwent a surgery that left her mobility restricted for nearly two years.

In order to take care of her daughter, Bergman put her booming acting career on hold.

“My mother, who had a full career, stopped working for two years to be with me everyday while I was ill,” Rossellini, 63, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

For much more from Isabella Rossellini on her mother Ingrid Bergman, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

But it wasn’t until Rossellini, 63, found herself undergoing a second spine operation three years ago that she realized just how much having her mother by her bedside truly meant to her.

“I missed her terribly and realized even more what a marvelous mama she had been,” she says.

And it’s that same sense of compassion and strength, which Bergman embodied during those years, that Rossellini remembers and admires the most about her.

“I would love to have more of my mother,” she explains. “She survived cancer for eight years. She worked until the end despite becoming increasingly sick and in pain. She was brave and strong until the end and died ‘with her boots on,’ as she used to say.”