The day I lost my precious mam, 64 years old ..... So very suddenly to Meningococcal Septicaemia..... Life is just not the same now :(

It's just over a year ago that we lost my lovely mam to meningococcal septicaemia. It was so sudden & unexpected & am still struggling to come to terms with it. It happened on the (thursday) 19th January 2012. my mam was very fit and well. She was 64, a very young 64 and I still can't get my head around what happened, how quickly it all happened. That evening is still so fresh in my mind it feels like yesterday.

My mum started to feel a little unwell in the early hours of the morning. She got up to go to the toilet and had terrible chills & felt a bit unwell. She had been absolutely fine until then, was up watching tv with my dad until midnight. Her symptoms were just like a cold/flu virus, she just felt a bit unwell. Headache, backache, hot & cold. The doctor even saw her around lunchtime (at mam & dads house) and she was told just to drink plenty of fluids. I was in work until mid afternoon, & phoned my dad to see if they needed anything from morrisons - that's when he said mam was feeling unwell and was in bed. He must have thought it was nothing serious as he would have phoned me earlier.thats what's frightening about meningitis.... It happens so sudden. Mam was never one to complain and was never poorly, even if she did have a cold etc she would always be up and about & fight it. When I called to see mam she was lying on the bed, i remember touching her legs & she was so cold, but then again mams feet were always cold! She was complaining that her lower back was hurting (her words ... She felt uncomfortable ! Wasn't crying in pain, just uncomfortable. This was around 5pm-5.15pm. She had by now vomited & had diarrhoea - I was concerned because her mouth was fairly dry so was worried she was getting dehydrated, that was the main reason I phoned the doctor again. Said I was concerned about dehydration, I said mam had been sick & diarrhoea and said she was still complaining of back pain and also had stomach pain by now. The Dr said he would refer / admit mam to hospital & I was to collect an admittance letter from the surgery. I did this. Mam even walked downstairs with dads help, got in the car & dad drove us to the hospital (5mins away). I was sat in the back with mam, holding her hand. she was complainng about the lower back pain. I remember looking at the clock in the ward and it was 5.55pm, mam was getting checked out in a seat (no beds). I remember getting her a cup of water, nurse took her BP, tried to take blood & I could see a look of concern!! All of a sudden a bed was wheeled, mam even got herself onto the bed and she was wheeled into a room. Nurse took dad & I to a little office, we saw mam once alive after this, after a bit, we were allowed to see her, i remember she had an oxygen mask & was connected to a two drips, one an antibiotic drip etc. i was shocked to see her as she had a rash / purple spots covering her neck, bit on her face & noticed her hands/arms. She was trying to take her mask off, saying it was suffocating her.... I remember saying she should leave it on. i recall kissing her, & saying love you and see you later. That was sadly the last time we spoke or saw mam alive the nurse took us back to the room. they kept coming in from time to time, saying they were concerned about mam, didn't know what was wrong, then she kept coming back in saying, they were very concerned, then critical then was told to contact any close family. Then that she'd had a cardiac arrest & machine was helping her breathe! It was a complete nightmare!! We couldnt understand what was happening. i honestly thought she had a virus/bug and she was a bit dehydrated - would get a drip of fluids and she'd be better & home next day.

My sister lived 2.30hrs away. I had to phone her! and I was on the phone with my sister when the consultant came in to say mam had passed away! It was just before 8pm. It was surreal, felt like a dream/nightmare. How can someone so healthy die so sudden. I still can't believe it's happened. They suspected it was meningitis & public health was involved, we, close family had to take some tablets. It took weeks to find out the true cause of death. Septicaemia had been put on the death certificate but several weeks later it was confirmed as meningococcal septicaemia. We don't know how she got it. I had never heard of adults having meningitis, only babies/children/teens. Life can be so cruel. My mam was a wonderful mam, wife & nain. My dad is heartbroken, they did everything together, he is lost. He still can't get his head round it either, doesn't make sense. She was taken far too soon & had years ahead of her. i think the suddenness of what happened makes it so hard to take in. My GP (not the one who saw my mam) helped me so much, she was great and the love and support of my family and friends helped me. Counselling helped me a little too. I would advise people going through the same thing to try and speak to their doctor and ask them all the questions that you have running through your brain... try and get some answers, to try and make sense of it all. I miss my mam so much, life is just not the same without her. its like im now living someone else's life. its horrible. ive gone from seeing and speakng to my mam every day to nothing .... happened in hours!!! she's the first thing I think about when I wake up and not an hour goes by where I am not thinking about her, i still try to understand why it happened. The consultant said it was just pure bad luck, one of those things, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and nothing we would have done would have changed anything. I keep thinking if she'd had antibiotics sooner that maybe she would have survived. but how where we suppose to know she was so ill :( even the Dr didnt realise. he told us later that there was nothing telln him that she would die only a few hrs later. why is it so hard to diagnose??

everybody says that time is a great healer and they are right to some extent. You never stop hurting, or miss her but you do become a little stronger in yourself to be able to deal with it all. I try and remember all the lovely memories we had, & I now get so much comfort from looking at pictures, videos. Miss hearing her voice, miss not being able to touch her, hug her. Can't believe she's not there, round the corner in our family home. Breaks my heart to see dad on his own but he's doing ok (ish), mam would be so proud of him.

I think im still grieving, even now - Ive learnt that everyone's grieving process is different - everyone must deal with it in their own way, do not rush it, look after yourself & try and speak to someone about how you feel. In time, when you feel more like yourself, live your life to the full & try and be happy, I know my mam would be so upset to see me so upset and not getting on with my life. It is very hard, but i am doing it for her and the rest of my family. I believe my mam is and will always be with us, watching over us. Xx I have also cruelly found out, life is so precious and we should make the most if every moment. Xx. You really don't know what is round the corner.... Girls in work have said many a time that they remember me finishing work on that thurs afternoon, all smiles and saying goodbye and said id see them tomorrow .... Then only a few hrs later my life changed completely & I didn't return to work for nearly five months. Really hit me hard :-( I hope that by sharing our experiences on here, we can help / support each other. I have been reading other stories which have helped me try to understand what's happened. Thank you so much X

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  • Dear Freesias.

    What a gorgeous name of beautiful, colourful and scented flowers - did your mum love them??

    It is so lovely to read about your wonderful Mam but devastating to hear that she cruelly did not survive the nasty Meningococcal Septiceamia. As you say it is a lottery as to who survives and who sadly doesn't. It is so clear in your words that you were such a close loving family and losing your Mam has left a huge, painful gap. I think it is incredible how you are able to express yourself so emotionally deep and well in your blog. You are right you are still grieving and you need to allow yourself to go through that at your own pace. Trouble is generally in this world others think after a period of time you should be at terms with your loss - don't let that make you surpress your grieving and go it at your own pace. You will never stop missing your mam but at some point hopefully you will realise that you can carry on with life and not feel bad about enjoying yourself. Your mam would want you to get to that stage as she would want to see you happier inspite of your tragic loss of her in your lives. I think you have a good understanding of how Meningococcal Meningitis just sneaks up and strikes unsuspecting people like your mam and its the 'why' that you struggle with and probably will indefinately.

    I was suddenly struck with Bacterial Meningitis and Septiceamia at the age of 53yrs. Similar to your mams experience I just thought I had an ear ache and flu like symptoms. I carried on with my day as I tend to do if unwell as I don't give into it easily or go rushing to the doctors. Despite being sick (and that had blood in it) I drove 10 miles to pick a foster child up from school (how I got there safely it terrifies me to think). When I got to the school (and I had a foster toddler with me too) I apparently ended up in the staff loo being sick, intolerant of light, major headache, shivering etc. The school apparently asked me if I wanted an ambulance but me being the toughy I am when ill and knowing I had the responsibility of the children and probably was becoming confused, kept saying no I would be alright. I actually remember nothing about what happened and have had to piece it together by other peoples accounts post discharge. It seems I had contacted another parent and asked her to collect my son from school and as they heard no more from me by 6 pm they became concerned. They ended up coming to the school that had nothing to do with them or our own children and overrided the school lack of recognition that by this time I was seriously ill and not making an ounce of sense so called an ambulance. They saved my life! By the time I got to the hospital I was comatosed and remained so for 3 weeks. Everyone was told it was unlikely I would survive or at best would be severely disabled. Why I managed to come through it and other don't - I don't know and I don;t think the medical profession do either particularly when someone was so fit and active like your mam (and me). It is a lottery and for some reason I got a lucky ticket to carry on my life. That makes me feel guilty and struggle with the 'why me' for surviving when the odds were stacked against me. I believe it was my young son who gave me the strength to come through. That said though life is not at all the same. I am a very different person having sustained extensive frontal lobe damage. Day to day I struggle to manage but I do my best because I am the sole parent of my gorgeous 7 yr old son. Sometimes I hate my post meningitis life so much as I can't do things like I used too that I think maybe it would have been better if I just slipped away and died when I was in the coma. But then when I read your blog I am mortified with myself for thinking that when I read how it is for you and your dad, left behind, struggling with making sense of losing your mam/wife who was so very much loved, cherished and such an important part of your lives. I think you have every right to feel angry at me for having survived and furious with me for still having a life with my son which I should be able to accept even though our lives have been totally changed and turned upside down, which has to be better than totally losing someone. However I will say that although I am still here I think in many ways my son has actually lost the old me as the mum now is very different and can't do the things she used to do.

    Sorry seems a totally naf word to use but somehow I would like to express my sorrow for you for losing your mam. The speed at which BM strikes certainly leaves you stunned at the vulnerability of life.

    Take care and keep blogging

    StrawberryCream x

  • Am so sorry for the loss of your mam. Reading your story brought tear to my eyes because what happened to your mum happened to me as well on 22nd October 2011 but I was in the hospital till May 2012. It was really tough. The difference between your mum and myself is she died but I lived. But I will never get over it for life because it left me in pool of after effects. At the moment I am deaf on two ears. I had over 10 different surgeries, I lost 8 of my toes, and 80percent of my feet and a host of other complications . I have lost all I have, my home, my job even my wife left me. She couldn't cope with is all. But 18months down the line, I am still picking up the pieces all alone with the support of friends am MT. Such is life. Sometimes I wish I didn't survive it all. Who knows death could have been better for her. It's a huge loss but take heart. I wish you well

  • Hi Freesias,We all have lovely names here -freesia,daffodil,strawberry cream!

    My heart goes out to you on the loss of your Mam.Thank you for opening your heart to us -it is a brave step to take but I hope that through the MT and forum you will find strength to keep going.There are so many courageous and wonderful people on this forum-you will find that you will connect with those who can support you.You never need be alone.

    Do you know that Meningitis Trust offers free counselling to anyone whose lives have been touched by Meningitis -you can have inperson,by phone or I think maybe by email.I had two courses of counselling(12 weeks i think) and it was a lifeline to me.You are never judged and are allowed to talk through your feelings with a trained counsellor who really understands.

    You can also be linked up with a 1-2-1 buddy( via phone,text,email,letter,even in person if nearby) .This is usually someone who has gone through a similar experince eg you would be linked with someone who has also lost a parent.

    You can connect privately on the forum.Just click on a username and on lhs tick send message.you can then exchange emails and communicate via own emails.It just depends on what you feel helps most.It certainly helps us all when we read about others experiences.I have been humbled so greatly to hear so many brave stories and it has made me sure that the reason I was allowed to live was to reach out to others and try to help,

    I was like Vasco and strawberry cream,struck down suddenly by meningococcal septicaemia five years ago.Like them I am left with disabilities and a very altered life,but feel so blessed to have survived.Only God knows why some survive and others dont.Like the others I have also wondered if I may have been better to just sleep away and living with the terrible after effects is so very hard.But when I read such tragic stories and how death from Meningitis affects evryone they loved,I feel bad about complaining.

    Today on Mothers Day I feel quite tearful as I think back to that night in 2008 when by Gods grace I survived,but could so easliy have left behind so many grieving.

    It sometimes seems "not enough" to say how sorry we are when youi are greiving.But what I do know is that when you love a person,love never dies.It liveso n in your memories and in time you will be able to think of the happy times and about your Mum without the great saddness you are feeling.Your Mams body is no longer here,but her spirit lives on.I am very sure ( I had an out of body/near death experinece with Meningitis) that the spirits/souls of loved ones are with us all the time.Look for little signs -they are all around .Talk to your Mam - she will hear you.It is Mothers Day,so she will be near to you.

    Sending you a big hug.We are all here to support you.Daffodil x

  • Hello Freesias, My deepest sympathy for the loss of your Mam. You are right that life can change on a dime. I think that your Mam is close by and that is why you think of her so often. I believe that this happens when a loved one leaves with little warning. I don't believe that they can move on until they know that their loved ones are going to be ok. This is why we should not focus our goals on this life as it passes away. You take the love with you. God Bless you and your family. Jeffery

  • So sorry to hear the loss of your mother, and you are very brave, and thank you for sharing with us all on this site, like the other I want to send you a BIG HUG xxxx

    Mandy

  • Hi Freesias, I, too, would like to extend my condolences. Like you, my loss was extremely sudden. My healthy 40-year-old sister took ill on Friday, February 1, 2013 and died on Monday, February 4, 2013, leaving behind a family which includes my brand new infant niece. I'm still having a hard time trying to understand why and how. This might be part of my grieving process, but somehow it would make more sense if it had been a fatal car accident. At least, that's something you can wrap your head around. Even a brain aneurism. These are things we're all familiar with. But meningitis?! Like you, I'd only heard of it in the context of babies, young children, and college-age youth. Someone on this site called it cruel -- and that's so very true. May I humbly suggest that, as part of your healing process, you continue to stay on this site -- it has been an awesome inspiration and source of strength for me. It helps makes meningitis more "human" if you will -- and realize that you are not alone in your experience or grief. Again, my condolences to you and all your family for your lovely Mum.

  • Hi there Freesias, I too was quite saddened by your heartfelt talk about your lovely mam. Its a very horrid disease and sadly not recognised especially for its nasty after effects. It touches lives so dreadfully and you are one of those souls whose life has been turned upside down by it, my heart goes out to you. I too had VM in 2009 and its been a long road to recovery, but slowly and surely, although I can never be the person (robust) as I was, I can do so much more now and try to be grateful for each day I dont feel ill.

    I want to say something to cheer you and I can only think that you are right your mam is looking after you and is with you, she will never leave your side I am sure. You can only be stronger for this awful experience, as I really do feel we are shaped by our experiences, though its a very tough road. I often feel that my "joy" of life left me with VM and never to return... however I just came back from a trip to Sierra Nevada in Spain and for one afternoon I put on my skis and went up the mountain, the sun was shining and the conditions were perfect ... I cried quietly with joy and gratitude for that day which I thought I would never ever see again. So there are slow but definite ways back to finding joy again in your life, and I sincerely hope you do too.

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