Trib Total Media – A Daughter’s Promise

Reporter shares story of love, loss and family

ABOVE: From left: Wearing Pittsburgh Pirates facemasks, Evelyn Klimovich poses for a photo with her daughter, JoAnne Klimovich Harrop, at the Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Squirrel Hill, outside Pittsburgh, Pa.; JoAnne holds the hand of her 93-year-old mother; Evelyn (left) sits on the terrace with JoAnne at Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of the Klimovich Family BELOW: The cover of Harrop’s book.

For four years, Trib Total Media reporter JoAnne Klimovich Harrop visited her mother, Evelyn, in a Pittsburgh nursing home daily, sometimes staying overnight. In March 2020, during one of those visits, she learned the nursing home would close for two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The director of nursing told her she could stay, but, if she did, she couldn’t leave.

“It was an easy decision,” she said, adding that her husband, Perry, understood the relationship she had with her mom and wasn’t surprised.

Those two weeks turned into nearly three months. And during those 85 days, Harrop kept a journal about her experience.

While there, Evelyn was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. She passed away 84 days later. Harrop spent one more day at the nursing home, writing down what it was like staying in her mother’s room alone. “It was a pretty emotional experience, as you can imagine,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to write the story.”

Her editors convinced her otherwise and, in December 2020, the Tribune-Review featured her story on the front page. It earned several awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award. Then, Trib Total Media helped her publish her story as a book.

“A Daughter’s Promise,” according to Harrop, is about her time in the nursing home, but also about her mom’s life and now life without her mom.

The experience, she said, has made her more empathetic. “It’s different when, as a reporter, you’re writing about someone else, but now, that someone else is you.”

“I think it’s also made me a better reporter,” she added. “The emotion is part of the story. I know when I write about these types of stories, people love to read them.”

She said the response to her story has been overwhelming. “At some point you’re going to lose a parent,” she said. “I think that resonates with a lot of people.” And, she added, everyone has a pandemic story. This book speaks to people on both levels. “It’s kind of a universal story.”

“A Daughter’s Promise” can be purchased on Amazon or