Our monthly brain aneurysm support group meetings are a wonderful way for survivors, their supporters and for those who have lost loved ones to come together and discuss this horrible thing that connects them. The fantastic medical professionals who have come to speak with us have opened the eyes of those who haven’t been educated themselves and have helped supporters gain a better understanding of what their loved one has gone through. I rarely come away from the meetings feeling anything other than positive energy and proud of the group, but tonight was different.

Dori and I in Maine Three years ago tomorrow, we had to say goodbye to my sister Dori. Her rupture was massive and deadly. She ruptured on Mother’s Day and was kept on life support until the 29th of May. No signs of life and no signs of recovery were recorded. They had shaved her long, thick, mostly gray hair from her head completely. She was on life support, a ventilator, and had a drain set up to alleviate and remove fluid on her brain. It’s an image that still haunts me as the last time I saw her.

Some of our discussions this evening at the support group centered on drains and locations of brain aneurysms. Dori’s aneurysm ruptured on her brain stem, which was catostrophic. As these discussions took place tonight with a survivor who had a drain and a rupture, the image of Dori in that hospital bed was running on a loop in my head. I’m glad we flew back from London immediately to see her at the time, but it technically wasn’t her in that bed. She really was gone the day of the rupture but I see her in that bed this week and my heart hurts because I miss her so very much.

I know for those who have lost a loved one, the support group can be sad, educational and scary all at the same time. Usually I’m naturally focused on the survivor side of it because I am one, but unfortunately, I also have the flip side as part of my life in losing my sister and Dave’s niece to massive ruptures. The successes (me surviving I guess) don’t quite balance out the failures (losing Dori and Kim) but life still goes on around us and I’m still alive to try and help others if I can. If we’re able to get one person scanned or help one survivor understand their situation better and offer comfort, then those lives lost will always be with us as a reminder at how precious life is and how we all can DO something.