January 21, 2009

Death in the family

At 2am DST UK, 21st January 2009, Myra MacDonald Neill died, my Mum.

While suffering for the last few years with illness due to Chronic Lymphasitic Leukemia, she had been doing well, better than well, looking to the future, something she had rarely dared to do in the preceding months, she was to become a Grandmother, Grandma as she would tell us daily.

As per my previous post, Tuesday morning i received a call asking me to come home from my Dad, the fear of that call has nothing on the calls i have since taken since that call only 36 hours ago, while writing this.

The collapse was brought about by Septicaemia which moved in to Septic shock, so rapidly Dr's with many years experience were shocked to hear that on the previous Evening she had been in a well and fit state to the point that she had been out with friends and driven home, and had a lively discussion with myself and my Father. Going to bed at 12.30 that night.

The essentials are that her illness of the last few years had resulted in her having her spleen removed, therefore reducing her immune system to zero and meaning she was reliant on a daily dose of drugs to maintain her health. The illness which took her has been so violent that her system was overwhelmed and within an hour of collapsing she was hooked up to several monitoring machines and a ventilator to help her breathe.

Having spent most of the day and evening at the hospital with her and my family we came home for the night as there was nothing to do. Just before 1am the call I was dreading without realising it came through and true terror from a very nice nurse was known by me. We were all dressed and at the hospital by 1.15 and the Dr gave the news that the only reason my Mum was still alive was purely down to the massive amount of drugs and the several machines she was on. The prognosis was that her kidneys had failed and that without the machines she would go in minutes and we should consider turning the machines off, truly a concept that was far beyond anything i wanted to be asked.

For us as a family the decision was mercifully easy, we were all there and knowing my Mum she would not want to be kept alive in this state. at about 1.45 the machines were turned off and in 2 to 3 minutes she was gone, the speed with which it happened was scary but also easier to handle than a prolonged end.

The official cause of death was massive organ failure due to septic shock and the official time was given as 2am.

Through this tragic event there is the fact my sister is pregnant and is due to give birth in August and the fact my Mum has always wanted to be a grand parent she knew 3 weeks of pure joy at the fact this dream was going to be a reality and I like to believe that she died happy in this knowledge.

If anybody reads this and I appreciate anybody that does, this has been a selfish act on my part to try and bring some sense to the situation and i hope that it is read in this manner.

Soon to be Uncle Andrew saying good night.


  1. I feel your pain, Andrew. My mother died two weeks before Christmas. It is a terrible time, and words don't seem to help, but sometimes just knowing you aren't alone in your grief can be slightly soothing. Try to be strong, but also let yourself break down if you can. Believe it or not, it helps. And if you need someone to vent to who knows what you are going through, just drop me an email (mycorygax at yahoo dot com)


  2. I'm sorry to hear about your loss Andrew. I too lost my mom in June of 2006. We will always miss them, but it does get better with time. Just remember the good times as I'm sure that's what she would want you to do.


  3. I am so sorry for your loss Andrew. This is a very personal and touching piece of writing. I cannot begin to understand how you feel. But you and your family are in my thoughts.

    Mary (Mekka)