Mother of Four Dies Suddenly After Severe Headache Turns Out to Be a Brain Aneurysm

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Four North Carolina children are devastated after the sudden loss of their mother, who died unexpectedly after complaining about what she thought was a severe headache, but that turned out to be a brain aneurysm.

According to PEOPLE, Lee Broadway was just 41 years old when she died. She’d had migraines since she was 8 years old, but on April 1 she called her husband, Eric, and told him to come home right away because she was having the worst headache of her life. She’d had a lot of migraines, and she and Eric had been together since high school, so they both knew what migraines were, but she said this one was different. The pain was so extreme she and Eric rushed to the hospital. The couple’s four children, ages 22, 16, 10, and 8, were not at home when it happened. The oldest girl was on vacation in Florida and the younger three were staying with their grandmother, but Eric called his wife’s mother to come because she was in the hospital.

“I knew this couldn’t be good because I’ve seen her deal with pain before,” her husband said.

He was stunned when doctors told him that his wife had suffered an aneurysm, which is caused by a weakened blood vessel in the brain, but was relieved when they said it had been a relatively manageable one and that they’d been able to repair it and she was recovering.

But then something went wrong while she was recovering, and she died.

“We’re still in shock,” her husband said. “Especially for the kids. They’re all grieving in their own ways.”

Their 8-year-old son Adair doesn’t seem to have entirely processed the news yet, because he keeps asking if his mommy is still in the hospital. His poor father keeps trying to explain it, but it’s difficult for both of them.

Migraine symptoms and aneurysm symptoms can apparently be very similar, but an aneurysm feels much, much worse. Even people who have regular migraines say the aneurysm headache feels more like being shot, or struck by lightning. Things that usually help a migraine, like going someplace dark and quiet and lying down, don’t do anything for the symptoms of an aneurysm.

The family has a GoFundMe account to help cover medical bills.