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chattycatty67 07-06-2011 09:45 PM

unexplained death
My 30 yr old niece died on Memorial Day. The autopsy has found no reason she should have died. No obvious health issues, no drugs/meds in her system--she just sat down, closed her eyes and died! I just know that they will come back and say it was an Arrhythmia because they really don't have an answer for us. Can they know for sure if it was an arrhythmia/SADS or is his just something they come up with when there are no answers?? Has anyone else had this happen in their family and if so, did you ever get any answers? Thank you for any help.

writeleft 07-06-2011 11:10 PM

Re: unexplained death
Hello Chatty, and first of all let me share my sadness over your sisters death. I am very sorry for your loss. I am sure your family is quite lost over this sudden event.

From my experience with "unexplained" cause of death, the death certificate would allow for the death be ruled "unexplained" rather than simply listing "arrhythmia" as a cause when the real cause is unknown.

Most deaths can be determined, but there still are mysteries in the medical world that offer us no answers. I wish the best for your family.

chattycatty67 07-07-2011 07:25 AM

Re: unexplained death
Thank you so much for your reply. I just don't understand any of this. I honestly do not think my family can ever even begin to deal with this until we have some answers. Our hearts are broken. I can't even begin to understand how a seemingly healthy young mother can be fine, helping to plan a family reunion, excited and happy one minute and be gone the next. Thank you for your condolences.

writeleft 07-07-2011 10:31 AM

Re: unexplained death
I can only imagine what difficulty you are going through as a family, and I am happy to try to work some of this out for you, I am here everyday, and I will check back later to see if you have responded again. I have also heard of another case of a similar nature that I would like to share, if that would help.

chattycatty67 07-07-2011 04:40 PM

Re: unexplained death
Thank you! That would be amazing. I hate that another family had to deal with this, but it will be good to know that we are not alone in this and that MAYBE someone can give us some answers or at least some idea's of what happened or what we can research to hopefully one day have a little peace of mind. You are wonderful. Thank you so much for everything!!

writeleft 07-08-2011 07:15 PM

Re: unexplained death
Sorry I was a bit late responding today, it has been a busy one for me...

I will be happy to share what I have learned with you about a similar post I responded to some time ago. In addition to that, I would like to offer my support to you as you travel through the stage of grief to come.

Some time ago, and I am sorry I have forgotten the title of the original post, we had a woman who had lost her daughter without any known cause, and like you she was devastated at the sudden and unexplained loss. I do not know if she ever found any resolution, but I was supporting her at the time she posted here, for quite some time.

Her daughter was in her mid twenties, and a college student living on campus out of her state. She was very close to graduation, and fell ill for a few days with flu like symptoms. Her mother had asked her to go to the college infirmary to get checked out, but she never got to...When her mother could not reach her by phone, she called campus security who found her in bed in her dorm.

When she came here she was in a crisis, and we wrote back and forth for some time while she was going through the early stages of shock, grief and despair. I have to think she was in a very similar position as you are, and are here for the same reasons. I would like to offer you the same time and understanding while you process this heartbreaking event in your life.

I am here using the tool or writing to offer you my help. Just so you know a bit about me, I want to share this with you. I am a survivor of 4 strokes, and my speech has been effected very seriously for the last 8 years. In that time, I have spent endless hours working here, while supporting others through difficult times, I have in turn, re-learned to write and have found this place to be a wonderful place to enhance my own recovery, as well as connect with others who are in need. While I do not keep a regular schedule with coming here, I am here about every day and can always be reached here if you need me. My name is Janet, and I am 50 years.

Anything that you would like to discuss, I would be happy to...I am hesitant about starting off with questions until I have an understanding of how you are doing first. I am very interested in knowing your current state of emotions, and the general sense of your well being at this point.

Since we are just starting this journey, I am without any details of this event, how recently it happened for example. Anything you would like to share about your sister, I would love to hear. Whatever I can do to help you get through this time, please let me know.

Your new friend, Janet

chattycatty67 07-08-2011 07:53 PM

Re: unexplained death

I can't thank you enough for your support and understanding. You sound as though you are a very strong and determined person. I admire you for getting through all you have and still wanting to help others. What amazing qualities.

I am so sorry that this other lady lost her daughter in a similar fashion. I hope she eventually got answers and was able to cope and move on.

First let me start by letting you know this was my niece that passed away. She were really close. Not too far apart in age. We were more like sisters than aunt & niece. I am also extremely close to my sister (her mom) and I do not think either of us would be getting through this at all, without the other.

As far as how I am doing....that's hard. Some days are better than others. Some days it is all I think about and I am obsessed with research and finding things that could have happened. Other days I am sad and do not want to do much, some days I go on like normal and then it hits me that she is gone and it is like hearing it for the first time all over again. I try to be strong for my sister because I know if it wasn't for me, her son and her 4 grandchildren, she would griene herself to death.

This happened on May 30, 2011--so just over a month ago. I had just spoke with my niece Sunday night (the night before this happened) about 10:30 PM. She was in a great mood, she had just had friends over for dinner and we were planning a family reunion for the weekend of June 17th.

The next morning my husband and I were working in our yard and I started feeling "weird", is how I described it. I felt shakey and nervous and like something was wrong, but it was hot and I hadn't had anything to eat that day, so I figured thats all it was. I came into the house and showered to cool off and left to run some errands. That is when my sister called screaming. At first I couldn't understand what was wrong, so I had to tell her to please calm down and tell me what was wrong. All I could make out was "please call someone and find out it isn't true! Tell them if it's a joke I won't be mad!" Again I asked her what she was talking about but all I could get out of her was "MaKenzi, dead and bathroom."
The story we have is that she was fine that morning when her husband left for work at 8:10am. She got up, was not complaining of feeling bad or anything, she made her 5 year old son some breakfast (her 3 year old daughter was still sleeping), and she started to put make up on while sitting on the sofa as her son played video games. He (the 5 year old) said she got up and went to the bathroom and never came back. So after a while (we have no idea how long), he went to find her. He said his mommy was sitting on the toilet (seat down-as if maybe she just felt dizzy or something and sat down) and that she was sleeping and would not wake up and talk to him. We do not know how long he tried to wake her, but eventually he went next door and told them his mommy would not talk to him. The neighbor came over and said she had her head laid back on a shelf behind the toilet, she was sitting up and her cell phone was on her lap. She said she touched her should twice to try to wake her, but then looked down and noticed her arms were blue, so she grabbed up the 5 yr old and ran out and called the paramedics. She did not know the 3 yr old was still inside sleeping--the paramedics found her when they got there and brought her out to the neighbor. The neighbor than called my nephew (MaKenzi's brother) and MaKenzi's husband and told them both to get over there. By the time they got there the police were there and had the house taped off and would not let anyone in. MaKenzi's husband is the one that called my sister and told her the neighbor was saying MaKenzi was in the house dead.
We have heard that they estimate she was dead approx. 2 hrs. before paramedics were called.
The autopsy showed no disease/illness, all organs appeared normal and no drugs/meds/alcohol in her system. They have sent tissue samples off to another lab out of state to hopefully get some answers, but so far nothing. The coroner is the one who brought up possible Sudden Arrhythmia death syndrome (SADS) as a possible cause of death, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

It has been devastating. It would be horrible if she had died in a car wreck, of cancer or especially drugs (which she has no history of), but at least we would have a reason why she is gone. I am not sure any of us can accept this or learn to live with this, if we never have answers.
As hard as this is, it is very comforting to know there is someone out there who cares--thank you!

writeleft 07-08-2011 10:16 PM

Re: unexplained death
Oh my gosh, I am so terribly heart is broken for you. (Please excuse my mistake over her relationship with you, your niece). May I ask her age? I can see why the entire family is just besides themselves, what a tragedy for all, especially the little ones.:angel: I will surely keep you all in my prayers.

It is a blessing that the young son had the presence of mind to call on the neighbor for help, and that he is likely young enough not to have a clear grasp on exactly what happened to his mother. Thank goodness for the neighbor to be there to take the children and call for help. While that is little relief, when things are down, each minute bit of positive thought can be helpful.

Are you lucky enough to live closely with the rest of the family? Your unusual feelings likely very close to the time it happened are proof of your close bond with McKenzi, and of your loving connection. That connection is everlasting, and will help your through the hardest of times.

May I ask how your daily life has changed since May 31st? Have you gained any responsibility for the children, or needed to make any other major changes in your life, such as your job and such? Do you have a routine that has been helpful in keeping your mind occupied, for at least part of the time? You mention that you and your sister have been able to comfort each other, and I am so thankful to know that.

Are there further reports to still be returned with any more possible information?

I have had my own battle with life changing illness, and am in end-stage illness as we speak (kidney failure)...While I know there is little comparison between the two at first glance, there is some lessons that I have learned that do apply to almost every life, and that is the power of the mind to overcome almost everything with the right attitude. The ability to make choices at every turn about your reaction to each obstacle is the way I have chosen to deal with my life's most difficult times. It becomes very easy to react without thought to most of our daily decisions, but when we are in crisis, each of our inner conversations with ourselves need to be well thought out. We can learn to choose to find the positive light that each hardship brings. There is one in there, and some are much easier to find than others..But we cannot allow ourselves to be overcome by a cascade of negative thoughts, without stopping ourselves to stop and change our attitude.

I know you have days and nights that are brimming with sadness, loss and confusion. If you can find some activities that offer you an escape from those feelings even for a minute, like writing a line or two in a a candle, looking at the stars or any simple thing, you will have your own personal moment to have a sweet thought, or a good feeling. I have tried to surround myself with little things that I love the look of, just so that a tiny reminder of life's goodness is always close by. When there is a time for tears, take that time, but only to clear your eyes and go on. When you are surrounded by what all seems dark and bad, we have to look hard until we find that bit of light that is always there somewhere.

Life is so precious, with so many beautiful things that make it so...I am wishing you the strength that is inside of you to take you through this time, leaving you a better person when you reach the other side.

I look forward to you reply, although please feel no pressure to do so. I will be back tomorrow to chat some more...


chattycatty67 07-11-2011 01:31 PM

Re: unexplained death
Hi Janet,

Happy Monday!

Hope you are feeling well today.

So sorry it took me so long to write back. I was having some issues connecting to the discussion board for the last couple of days.

My niece was 30 years old. So far, no more answers, but my sister did get a call from the coroner today saying no stone is being left unturned and that no cause of death will be listed on the death certificate until he has a clear cut answer. We don't know exactly what he is leaning towards or if he has anything specific in mind. He did say that because it is , at this time, an "unknown cause of death-a 30 year old that should not be dead" that the death is under investigation. Again...we do not know for sure what this means until we get some answers.

So that is where we stand as of right now....still no answers...

My sister is suspicous of everything right now and is driving herself crazy trying to find answers...I guess, in a way, I am too.

I will definitely keep you posted and let you know if/when we get any answers.

Thank you again for being here to talk to.

katlin09 07-12-2011 10:55 AM

Re: unexplained death
Hi, chatty, just wanted to say I read your story and I am so sorry for your loss. I have many grown nieces with children, I couldn't imagine that happening. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Janet is a wonderful supporter, she helps us all on the Chronic Pain Board all the time and is great at being there for people.


chattycatty67 07-12-2011 12:26 PM

Re: unexplained death
Hi Kat,

The best thing that has happened to me siince losing my niece is finding this discussion forum and the people in it. You have all been so wonderful. Thank you so much for being there and I hope I am able to return the favor.


writeleft 07-12-2011 03:58 PM

Re: unexplained death

We are here to help, and thank you so much for your kind words. I also find this place to be a very loving and supportive place. We are here anytime you need us. No need to return anything, your thanks is enough.

The call from the coroner is encouraging, and I really hope your family gets some answers. Not knowing must be the hardest part. I am terribly sorry to hear how difficult this is for your sister, and the rest of you...we can only imagine.

If you do get some further information, and wish to share it with us, we would be very happy to hear, not to mention just to know how you are doing.

I will keep you in my prayers'


And to katlin, thank you for your thoughtful remarks. I have gained way more from being here, than I ever could repay. See you on the boards!

SHARON1952 07-14-2011 08:38 AM

Re: unexplained death
[QUOTE=chattycatty67;4794125]My 30 yr old niece died on Memorial Day. The autopsy has found no reason she should have died. No obvious health issues, no drugs/meds in her system--she just sat down, closed her eyes and died! I just know that they will come back and say it was an Arrhythmia because they really don't have an answer for us. Can they know for sure if it was an arrhythmia/SADS or is his just something they come up with when there are no answers?? Has anyone else had this happen in their family and if so, did you ever get any answers? Thank you for any help.[/QUOTE]

SHARON1952 07-14-2011 11:58 AM

Re: unexplained death
hi so sorry for ur loss my son died 3 weeks ago and we have no answers he just went to bed and never woke up he was 41 my eldest i am heartbroken to lose such a lovely son we got no answers yet but the did a post mortom and found nothing so they released his body to be cremated and took some samples for other tests so we must wait to find out what i would like to find out is if the post mortom they done rules out foul play or overdose im not sleeping well all my mind is thinking all sorts i just cant believe it my heart goes out to you this just shoulnt happen

chattycatty67 07-14-2011 03:02 PM

Re: unexplained death

I am so sorry for your loss. I just hate that there are others in this world having to deal with this same thing. No mother should ever have to lose a child, but losing a child and having no explanation as to why is the worst~~I am seeing first hand what it is doing to my sister.

I am not sure what testing they do in England, but I know here in the U.S, and overdose was ruled out in my niece's case.

We are not sure yet if they suspect foul play in our case or not because the medical examiner has not come out and said that to my sister, but some of the things he is saying, leads us to believe he may be going that way. If there was foul play involved in my niece's death, I am not sure what it could be or what could have been used to cause her death, because there were not drugs/meds found in her system, no signs of trauma, no signs of disease or illness. So like you...we have no answers and we sit and wait.
My heart goes out to you and I will be sending prayers to you & your family and if you need someone to talk to, I am here. I pray you have answers soon.

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