Lee Broadway suffered from migraines since childhood, but her husband knew something was different when the 41-year-old called saying she had the worst headache of her life.
"I raced home and took her to the ER," Eric, 43, told People. "I knew this couldn't be good." His instinct hinted at the tragedy to come. The mom of four had actually suffered a deadly brain aneurysm.
When the North Carolina couple rushed to a hospital on April 1, "She was begging to have the pain go away," Eric said. "As a husband, you want to protect your wife and help her, but there was nothing I could do."
Doctors originally gave good news. Lee's aneurysm measured a Grade 2 out of 5. "One or two is what you want to have," said Eric. "We were told she would be okay." During the procedure the next day, Eric and his mother-in-law even received "the thumbs up," but the affirmation came too soon. Hours later, Lee was considered brain dead.
"We're still in shock," her husband told People. He met Lee in middle school, and the high school sweethearts were married for almost 20 years. That fateful weekend, all of their children were out of town. Averi, 16, Alex, 10, and Adrien, 8, were visiting their grandmother, while their oldest daughter, Adair, 22, now lives in Florida.
"Becoming a mom was the best thing to happen to her," Eric said. "She was an awesome mom. She fell right into it and found something she loved." Now, the family is honoring her life, holding a celebration on April 8, when Lee would have turned 42.
"Every memory I have growing up she's just always there and so present," Adair told WCNC. "I don't think she would've left if she didn't think we would be okay."
According the Mayo Clinic, a brain aneurysm can feel like the "worst headache ever experienced." That intense sensation can also present with nausea, blurred vision, drooping eyelids or confusion. If you're ever with someone who complains of a sudden, severe headache, you should call 911, the page advises.
You can donate to a GoFundME supporting the Broadway family here.
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