I never knew much about brain aneurysms until one affected my mother this past September. My mom, Geri, was a healthy and vibrant 51-year-old wife and mother of two. She and my father had a wonderful marriage and were truly best friends. She was an affectionate and doting mother, and she was so proud of my autistic sister (age 19) and me (age 21).
Mom had the patience of a saint, for she both lived and worked with special needs children. She loved to laugh and rarely let anything bother her. Over the past several years (after I outgrew that "I'm too cool for you" phase), my mom and I became best friends. We enjoyed going shopping and out to eat together, and we talked openly about many things going on in our lives. My friends would come over and chat with my mother, even when I wasn't home. She was just that special...
On Sept. 1, 2002, my mother and father prepared to go to a wedding. My mother bent over in the bathroom and yelled to my dad that she had an awful headache. She was crying and nauseous, and my father soon took her to the emergency room. Later that night, after a series of tests and scans, it was determined that an aneurysm at the base of her skull had burst. One of the top neurosurgeons was called in to operate on her within several hours. Surgery was rough, however, and the aneurysm ruptured once again when the surgeon went in to clip it.
They were unsure of the extent of my mom's disabilities, and decided to keep her in a drug-induced coma for 48 hours so her brain and body could "rest." As the week went on, we got reports from doctors that her brain looked normal and her pupils were responsive to stimuli. We were thrilled and could not wait for her to open up her eyes.
My mother's eyes never opened again. About 5 days after her surgery, we were told that she suffered a massive stroke and was basically brain dead. As a family, we had to make the decision to take her off the machines. Even if she woke up, we were told she would be nothing more than a vegetable. No one could have bared the thought of my beautiful, active mother sitting in a nursing home for the rest of her days.
On September 9, I went up to the hospital to bid farewell to my mom. There was nothing for me to really say to her because I had said everything I wanted to while she was alive. She knew how much I loved her and valued her as a friend. I remember holding her cold, swollen hand and whispering "I love you" to her.
My heart has broken, and I will never be the same again. I will, however, continue on with my life, for that is what my mom would want. I took a semester off from college, but am returning in a few weeks. Education was so important! to my mother, and she was so overjoyed that I was excelling in college and going to earn a degree. I push myself to do well for her, and I know that when I receive my diploma, she will be there with me. My life is for both you and me, Mom, and I hope I can continue to make you proud. I'll love you forever...
Return to contents
Return to Aneurysm & AVM Support