I sitll remember a young woman named Abi and the last Migraine she had. Abi was 21-years-old, just shy of her 22nd birthday, and she was having horrible Migraines. She came to a live online chat I was hosting one night and told us that she was on the third day of a horrendous Migraine. It was a Wednesday evening in October, 2001. I and the others in the chat room pleaded with her to get her parents to take her to the emergency room. She told us that she couldn't because they'd accused her of faking her Migraines for attention. Her sister was having problems with depression, problems that needed serious attention from their parents, and they thought Abi was "acting out" because her sister was getting more attention.
On Friday, I received an email from her fiancé, Jeff. The Migraine Abi had on Wednesday had continued and caused her to have a stroke. She was in the hospital, and he wanted me to pray for her recovery. I did pray for her, and Jeff kept me updated until Abi was able to go home and get back in touch with me. We thought the worst was over, and we hoped that her parents understood her and her Migraines better.
That's not what happened. A few weeks later, another Migraine struck and, with it, another stroke. This time, Abi didn't survive the stroke. I still have emails from Abi and Jeff as well as the transcript from that Wednesday chat and transcripts from some instant messenger conversations with Jeff. After Abi passed away, Jeff said,
"I've been spending the last few days in Abi's room. Cleaning up her things, going through stuff. Anyway, Abi kept a journal, wrote in it every day. She knew her time was coming, and wrote a letter asking me to tell you some things she wanted to say..."
Jeff then emailed me what Abi has wanted to say to me. She said,
I wanted to take some time to thank you for all you've done for me, and for everyone. You have a tremendous heart, a ton of love and understanding. Your soul is one of a kind. I'm sorry to have worried you, I'm sorry I didn't listen to you and get help right away. God led me to you before I died so I could know and appreciate your spirit. Thank you! Please know that I am not hurting anymore, I am with my Heavenly Father and joyfully wait to see you here in heaven some day. Can you do me a favor? Could you please help others understand about migraine, and that getting immediate treatment is important? I will be with you always. I love you Teri. Please be kind and gentle with yourself. Thank you for everything!
I will ALWAYS remember Abi, her last Migraine, and what I learned from her. I will always honor her last request of me and continue to work to help others understand Migraine better. If I can prevent what happened to Abi happening to even one other person, it will be work well done, time very well spent.
Some people think I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to educating people about Migraine disease, increasing awareness, and reducing the stigma. Maybe this post offers a bit of insight to what's behind my vehemence. Here's a short poem I wrote about Abi:
almost, not quite
she visited a few times
then was gone
but gave more than she asked
then she was gone
she loved and laughed and cried
but then she was gone
was it with a whisper
or with a shout that she left?
Abi, I'm keeping my promise. I miss you.
This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
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© Teri Robert, 2011
Last updated November 26, 2011