I woke up the morning of Friday March 12, 2021 and the coffee cup filled with hot coffee was on the night stand just like it was 6 days a week. My wife of 47 years 9 mos. had set the cup there before she left the house to go to her favorite place, the gym. She went everyday except Sunday. She walked 4 or 5 miles with friends on the indoor track, then she would go to a Pilates class and then maybe another sometime 3 in one day, and she didn’t go to the easy classes the more difficult and advanced and faster the class, the better she liked it. She was 68 years old but you wouldn’t be able to guess it, she was in excellent physical condition, and often amazed some of the younger classmates and the instructors at her with her athletic abilities. She had done this very routine for many years and was a well known fixture at her gym.
This morning however would be different, and one phone call would change my life forever. The call came shortly after 9am I had just gotten out of the shower, and noticed a voicemail, it was the gym manager telling me I should come to the gym. That Mary Kay had collapsed in her Pilates class. I got dressed and immediately started for the gym about a 15 minute drive from home.
I then got another call it was a police officer asking me how far away I was. He said I need to get there ASAP. I asked him how serious it was he told me Mary Kay was not conscious, I knew now this was serious I had thought maybe she just got overheated but even that thought seemed impossible as she had done these classes for years with ease. I arrived at the gym to the scene of Paramedic units and fire trucks and police cars in the parking lot. I began to feel like my legs were made of rubber and I was in a nightmare not reality. The desk person inside the gym told me they had taken Mary Kay across the street to the hospital which was on a campus with the gym and various medical offices. I started to run to the hospital when a campus security officer offered me a ride to the ER entrance, when I entered the ER I saw a paramedic holding a automatic CPR device. Being a retired State Trooper, I knew right away what this device was used for, and I began to panic, I was ushered into a waiting room by hospital staff. A Doctor then came into room told me Mary Kay appears to have suffered a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage medical term for burst brain aneurysm. They were getting ready to transfer her to a close by hospital, with a Neuro ICU and a Neurosurgeon. I saw her briefly as they prepared her for the short ambulance trip,she was unconscious and was breathing with a mechanical ventilator, my son met me at the hospital, and he drove us to the new hospital location. There we met with a neurosurgeon who told us Mary Kay was in very critical condition and that Drs would try to relieve some of the pressure on her brain with surgery, this was done and after a couple hours Mary Kay was back in a ICU room attached to tubes and ventilator and her head had been shaved for the surgery, it was so hard to look at my beautiful wife laying there with all,the sounds of machines and mechanical breathing. It was not happening not to us not to my family she was the kindest, sweetest person the oldest of 7 girls, a homemaker, never had a bad or harsh word about anyone or anything. And here she was in this condition it was a horrible shock.
Doctors told us it did not look good for recovery, but suggested we give it overnight and see how conditions developed, the next morning the neurosurgeon led us into a room with several screens, on the screens were MRI photos. The Dr showed us the grim photos and explained how Mary Kay’s brain had suffered so much damage. We asked if there was any hope of any kind of improvement from her current condition the Dr said no. So it was time for the horrible decision that no one ever wants to make but my son and I with all the information we had agreed his mother and my wife would not want this to go on any further, we had to let her go.
Such a terrible day this was my son devastated knowing he and his wife had a one year old daughter, that would never know her grandmother. Mary Kay adored that little girl. Not a year earlier our long awaited dream came true when we were blessed with a granddaughter. Such a sad day! The hospital staff removed Mary Kay’s ventilator, she breathed on her own we held her hands and rubbed her feet, told her we loved her, not knowing if he knew we were there but feeling that she did know, a few hours went by we had a priest come in and give her last rites, her breathing became more shallow and then she took her final breath, one tear ran down her cheek from her left envy my son said Dad look a tear, we both were crying as he wiped the tear when it reached the bottom of her cheek.
I know there may be medical explanations for the tear from their eye, but my son and I choose to believe she was saying goodbye. That was March 13, 2021 at 6:50pm and my life and my only son and his family are without our Mary Kay, it has been nearly a year but today as I,write this is no easier than that day. Her gym friends and sisters contributed to a memorial paver stone that is placed in a beautiful woods walking path which winds through the gym and medical, campus. It reads Mary Kay Kelley. Sweet Pilates Girl, it is near a steam and a little water fall a spot she loved to walk and sit a moment on the park bench and enjoy the sound of the stream. The world lost a sweetheart, and it was a brain aneurysm that took her from us, it was without warning, it was sudden, and it’s presence was unknown to her or anyone else, it just burst that day and at that time and she was gone forever. We that loved her all hope that answers can be found to detect aneurysms before they burst and before they take those we love away from us maybe someday!