April 1st will always be different for me now. Its the day I got a phone call off my girlfriend’s sister to tell me she was dead. Face down in her bed. Gone.
That was 2015 and I don’t talk about it much, certainly not on the day itself. Too many memories. Its too real on the day still. I just quietly remember the moment and let it pass but ask me any other day of the year and I’ll openly tell you what happened because its important.
I woke, texted her twice. An April fool as it happens about my van been nicked. She replied once and that was it. I texted her a bit later about a property we were looking at renting. Then another, and then two more still continuing the bloody April Fool joke. Around 11am I got the call. I will never forget that moment.
Gaye had epilepsy and her fits used to happen at night or in the mornings. She was medicated to help her with them. They were nothing major, she’d roll over on her front, convulse for a few seconds and then come around a bit groggy. She was getting her life back on track and had even got her driving licence back too.
She died 4 days after her 40th birthday from a SUDEP. A Sudden Unexpected Death through EPilepsy. Its not completely understood why but its thought those that have fits at night are at a higher risk and when it happens, the heart and breathing stops.
This isn’t a cry for help nor am I looking for sympathy. I’m just trying to raise awareness of SUDEP. If you know someone with epilepsy, just ask if they know about SUDEP’s. That is all you have to do.
Blogging helps me. This is my most personal one yet but it is a story that’s worth telling now because I’m ready to share it on the interweb in full and if someone with epilepsy doesn’t know about SUDEP they can manage it better and be safer. It could literally save a life.