A few years back, I had never heard the word aneurysm, much less thought I would become so familiar with it. Five years ago, my father-in-law Jim was stricken by severe headaches and we rushed him to the local hospital. "He's suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm" the doctors said, and we prepared for the worst. He had brain surgery and has since fully recovered, thanks to the miraculous work of the neurosurgeon.
In December of 1999, my younger sister Irene (37yoa) collapsed at her job and was also rushed to the hospital. She, too, had suffered an aneurysm, but was not so fortunate. She was declared brain dead and died the following day. Needless to say my family was and is still devastated. Irene was a warm, wonderful person who never even had a chance to say goodbye to her young husband, her mother (who was also her best friend) or the rest of us. The world is a far darker place without her.
Then just last week, a third one...my father-in-law's sister Maureen collapsed suddenly and she, too, was gone within hours. Three incidents in one family in five years...make no mistake we know about aneurysms now!
We are currently contemplating having ourselves and our children tested, and unfortunately, "aneurysm" is a part of our almost daily vocabulary. If there is a positive to be gleaned from our experiences, it is that we value every moment we have together more. Aneurysms have shown us that you don't know what is ahead of you, even hours ahead.
For all of you who have had them and survived, who have lost loved ones to them, or who are dealing with them at present, you are in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you strength, hope, and peace throughout your experience and in the aftermath. For those who will never be affected, we will thank God for you; we know what you're missing.
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