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Megan's Story



megan

Megan was 6 1/2 years old when she died in September 2010. She was diagnosed 2 1/2 years earlier with a diffuse fibrillary Astrocytoma; a type of brain tumour. This was shocking news for us, as the only symptom she showed was a slight shake of her hand.

As Megan's tumour was so large and because of the area of the brain it was in, it was inoperable. She was started on chemotherapy, but Megan could not tolerate enough of it to have any impact on the tumour, so was given radiotherapy instead. The tumour began to die in the centre, but the edges of the tumour were not touched and became aggressive.

We were told in October 2009 that there was no more that could be done for her.

She continued living a normal, happy life for 8 months before the tumour took over, when for the last 3 months of her life she couldn't talk, walk, eat, see, move or basically do anything she did before.

We cared for Megan at home, with all the help and support we could have wished for, before she left us. And although we knew it was going to happen, nothing could have prepared us for how devastating it was losing her.

The emotions felt in those first few minutes were unbelievable. From sheer disbelief and pain to enormous relief that she was no longer suffering and was free.

The absolute worst moment for me was when she was taken away. How I stopped myself running after her I don't know. I have a lovely husband and two more beautiful girls but I could have gone to sleep that night and wished I'd never wake up.

For weeks after I constantly went over and over in my head the day she died, seeing her in the chapel of rest and her funeral. I found it hard to remember any happy times at all, to remember Megan how she used to be. All I could think about was the sadness. Megan was cremated; the thought of putting her in the ground I couldn't bear. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but we have decided to keep her with us until one of us can be with her. She is too little to be alone.

Coping day to day has it's ups and downs, alright (I won't say good) days and bad days. I cope by talking about Megan whenever I can, not caring whether I bore people or not! I also cry when I need to. I may show myself up if I'm elsewhere but home, but it's a needy release.

Christmas, Birthdays and Anniversaries are always the worst times, but we all get through them in some way. We have bought named Christmas baubles, cards, let off balloons, laterns, even bought presents to remember Megan. We also talk about Megan as though she was still with us. We don't like to leave her out of anything. I still have 3 children and always will.

Putting away her things was hard, so I did it when I felt I was ready and kept everything I needed to (which to be honest was most things!) It may seem silly and illogical to keep certian things but if it's not hurting anyone and makes you feel better then that's fine. I kept an empty medicine bottle for 2 months before I could throw it away, just because it had her name on it.

Help following Megan's death was virtually non existent from those who you think should help. Macmillan were a big help before Megan died and say you can phone them anytime after, but I feel silly just ringing them for a chat when really that's all you need, just someone to talk to. Friends offered a shoulder, especially those who have gone through the same journey. The biggest help, especially with Megan's sisters, was from Clic Sargent and the girl's schools. They provided someone who the girls could go and chat to if they wanted. Megan's school closed on the day of her funeral and the vicar gave his time, the church and hall for the wake for free. Friends also helped with the wake, supplying food and their time for free which helped with the expense.

One of the last things you want to worry about is the cost of a funeral, but with so many parents having to give up work to care for a sick child it's an inevitable thing. Megan died at 8.50pm. We could not believe the funeral directors charged over 200 to take Megan away "out of hours". We certainly would have kept Megan with us until the morning and spent more time with her if we had known this. With all the help we received with the funeral the bill was in excess of 3,000, an extortionate amount to say goodbye to a beautiful girl. We would have paid anything to have the funeral we wanted for our Meg, but why should funeral directors take advantage at shuch a traumatic time?

Losing a child is the most hurtful, devastating time any parent can go through and the people who should offer the time, help and support you need to get through it, don't.


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