I Miss….

As my annual angiogram checkup on my brain aneuryms is looming closer, so is the anniversary of the day my sister had her rupture and eventually died. I’m not looking forward to either date.

I’ve been thinking about Dori a lot lately and last night I actually had a dream where we discovered she was alive. It was a shocking event. I saw her in either a hospital or hotel or airport, I cannot remember which. At first it was disbelieve, then she spoke and said “Yes, I’m here!”. I screamed, my knees buckled and I cried and cried with joy. Then I woke up. Reality.

In hind sight, perhaps planning our trip to Scotland this year at the same time we did our trip to London last year wasn’t the brightest of ideas, but it’s the best time to do it at work and it’s beautiful in the UK that time of year….or so we’re told. Last year’s trip was cut short due to Dori’s rupture so obviously I’ll be remembering it as we go cross the big pond again. But I think I would have those thoughts no matter what time of year we went, so just best get it over with, right?

I miss her terribly…as does everyone in my family. I miss her emails telling me stories about her son and what funny things he says. I miss her laugh when we spoke on the phone. I miss knowing she was close to my mom should she need her and I miss the comforting way that she had. I always knew I could vent to her, as she could vent to me and it would stay between us. I ache with missing her.

I also miss a time when I didn’t know what the hell a brain aneurysm was. I’m angry that brain aneurysms have effected both of my families in such a traumatic way and I miss a day when I didn’t have to worry about my own aneurysms. Reality can really suck sometimes.

Last year around this time, I received a small colorful tin box in the mail. Inside was a note that read “As you finish packing for your honeymoon, I hope you have enough room left for the twins! They so want to go with you and don’t seem to really care if you bring them back home. Have a wonderful and, hopefully relaxing time together. Enjoy! Love you, Dori”. The “twins” were two fifty dollar bills she had enclosed in the box wrapped in tissue paper. I’m clutching it to my heart as I type this through my tears. I DID take those twins to the UK and I did spend them as instructed.

Reading that note again I am reminded of how selfless Dori was and how she was always thinking of others. At the time she sent that, she was going through some medical issue with some serious back pain and had had back surgery. She had been miserable for months and I felt helpless in not being able to assist her in any way. I did call and let her vent, but that was all I could do from Maine. Sending her a “Get Better Bear” was about the only thing I knew would at least bring a smile to her face. Little did I know those would be the last gifts we would ever exchange.

I plan to take that colorful tin with me to Scotland. I know Dori was very excited for Dave and I to be going and maybe I’ll pull a sprig of heather from the highlands, place it in the box and bring it home with me just for her.

I’m still angry and disappointed Dori’s aneurysm was not discovered before it ruptured. She knew the dangers and even accompanied me for two of my brain aneurysm procedures here in Maine. Out of anyone in my family, she was the most educated. So it’s quite ironic and horribly sad that she was the one who was taken.

I plead with anyone who has had a ruptured brain aneurysm in their family, to have the other family members get scanned. Fight with your Dr’s and insurance companies…it could be your life you save. You CAN survive an aneurysm…a ruptured one gives you fewer odds of survival. For some reason, I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t know why and I’m often angry about it when two people I loved very much didn’t, but that’s the deck of cards I have been dealt. Apparently, I’m just going to have to deal with it…no matter how much I miss those who weren’t so “lucky”.

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Dance For Awareness

The Dance for Brain Aneurysm Awareness event was held last Saturday at the Legion in Westbrook, Maine. Over 200 people attended and it’s believed over $4,000 was raised. It was the first event of this type that the Maine Brain Aneurysm Awareness group has held, and by all accounts, it was a success!

Dave and I arrived early to help set up. One of the nice things about this indoor event was we didn’t have to deal with gusty winds like we do at the walk/run in September. It was a joy to not have to weight everything down and set up tents to protect us from the elements. As a result, setup went fairly quickly.

What took more time was setting up all of the wonderful items that were collected for the Chinese and Silent auctions. Some truly wonderful gift baskets, artwork, and gift cards made for some interesting bidding wars throughout the evening. I won a beautiful painting of a door with two plantings on either side of the entrance. It spoke to me when I first saw it.

Our DJ, Gloria played and sang music from many eras and genres. She pretty much had something for everyone to dance to. Once the lights were turned down, many people took to the floor and boogied. Since I was suffering from pleurisy, I was showing restraint and only did two slow dances with Dave all night. That was about my speed. LOL

The date for the dance was set based on the birthdays of Kim Tudor (Dave’s niece) and Karolina Kurka. Last weekend just happen to fall in between both their birthdays, so it seemed an appropriate time to honor them both, as well as bring to light more awareness and understanding of brain aneurysms, and hopefully help any other families in the area who may have been touched by aneurysms. A few new people did show up and some members of the medical community came, which was truly wonderful!

As Kim’s mother had a difficult time with this event being held so close to Kim’s birthday, I was reminded of how fresh and painful these types of losses can be. The anniversary of my sister’s death is looming ever closer in May and next month I will be having my
aneurysms checked yet again with an angiogram.

But I am very thankful for this band of volunteers and their families who are making the healing less painful and showing us that we can get through this as a community. The unfortunate camaraderie we share is a comfort and the friends I’ve made through this tragedy have truly touched me.

Keep an eye on the MaineBA.org website for more photos of the event once we’re able to gather them all.