In memory of Marilyn

in Archives by susan

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This morning we learned of the passing of a dear friend’s adult daughter, Marilyn.

My parents and her parents were actually best of friends, knew each other through Sunday school at the church. Our parents even delayed their wedding until their friends returned from their honeymoon so they could attend.

We probably sat together for birthday parties at the childrens’ table in the house I grew up in. Although they lived at the other end of town, we would have seen each other at family camp, special get-togethers, picnics, etc. that our parents would have attended. Over the years, the children grew up, went to school, moved away, raised families, and even got married. We didn’t see each other until my own mother’s memorial service.


What made Marilyn special to me was the bond she had with my parents. She told me that my mother had saved her life – how I don’t know – but I think it was through some searching online of a medical procedure or device that would have helped with her chronic pain.

I believe it was possibly trigeminal neuralgia that was the issue (the trigeminal nerve is a cranial nerve that sends & receives sensation from the face and facial muscles).

Trigeminal neuralgia is considered by medical experts to be one of the most painful conditions known to humankind

TN affects lifestyle as it can be triggered by common activities such as eating, talking, shaving and brushing teeth. Wind, chewing and talking can aggravate the condition in many patients. The attacks are said by those affected to feel like stabbing electric shocks, burning, sharp, pressing, crushing, exploding or shooting pain that becomes intractable.


This type of trigeminal nerve damage is very different from the type one might experience from dental surgery, where the nerves may go numb and take time to recover.

We don’t know if this is the condition Marilyn suffered from, but after reading some of the symptoms, it sounds possible. TN sufferers live in fear of the next attack, and can suffer from severe depression and anxiety. One’s family may never understand what the sufferer is experiencing, and the person with TN may try to cover it up by withdrawing from social activities and family contact.


Marilyn had only just returned home, from an outpatient surgery earlier in the week to replace the almost dead battery in an implanted device which would help with the pain. Apparently her pain was severe. Sadly, Marilyn died on Friday April 8th, 2016.

Nobody can ever know another person’s pain.

Her memory will live on, through the very generous bursary fund she set up in my mother’s name some nine years ago at a local university.

Thank you, Marilyn. You’ll be missed, but never forgotten. Rest in peace.

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