Michelle Louise Reid
Born May 18, 1982
Lost her battle with Epilepsy March 2, 2005 at the age of 22
Growing up I always looked up to my sisters. Michelle was always the mother type older sister, which makes sense because she was the oldest of us 3. She could get annoyed with me one second and a second later be defending me if anyone else but her was mean to me. She was a fiercely loyal friend who loved and protected with all she had. Her love for her family was unconditional, but don't let that fool you. If you tried to sit in the front seat of the car it was war and she always won.
Her favourite place in the world was Walt Disney World in Florida. We had a family trip there and it was one of her happiest times in her life. She always wanted to go back and often thought of her days spent in paradise with no worries on her mind.
Her one true love in this world was Jon Bon Jovi. She was lucky enough to be able to go to 2 of his concerts. What would have one day been her wedding song(picked by our dad) "Thank You For Loving Me" ended up being the song we played at her funeral. In a way it was all of us thanking her for loving us and her thanking us for the same. Her theme song is "It's My Life" and there a too many Bon jovi songs out there that can be connecting with Michelle. It's ironic that the day she left this world is also Jon Bon Jovi's birthday. She wouldn't have had it any other way.
Michelle was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 16, and her life completely changed after that day. She had many struggles every day dealing with this new disease. It was a battle that most of us couldn't see, but greatly effected Michelle's life in every way. Her license was taken away, the physical effects of her seizures quickly started to take effect on her body and left her in pain most of the time. She tried to hide her pain as best as she could and always walked with a brave face and her head held high.
Michelle was loved by so many people, the lives she effected are countless. She is missed everyday and will always be remembered by her friends and family.
On March 2, 2005 we lost an amazing person. Michelle's death was a shock to us all and something I did not think was possible. Even having a family member living with epilepsy I did not know that it could cause death. It is a day that I will always remember and see clearly. We all gained an amazing guardian angel with wings big enough to protect all who she loves that day.
-written by her youngest sister Katlyn Reid
Michelle was our first born daughter, soon to be followed by Jennilu, then Kate. Blessed with three daughters who were healthy, smart and beautiful, the sky was the limit for what they could accomplish.
We shared laughter, music and love as they grew up. Michelle, being the oldest, was the first to teach me how to be a dad. She loved being the older sister and took every advantage to teach her sisters everything they probably shouldn’t have known. She was the first to stick up for her family and her circle of friends knew they could always count on her through the good times and the tough times. She was a very good friend.
I think we were all in denial after Michelle was diagnosed with epilepsy. How could this be? Surely she will grow out of it. Surely the medications will look after it. It was incomprehensible that none of the 4 neurologists we saw could get her medications balanced so she could live a normal life. So, she suffered, and we all felt her pain of not being able to control this horrible disease. She fought hard not to let it affect her, but it did. Not one of these neurologists even hinted that this could be fatal. In fact, all of them said she was lucky that her form of epilepsy was ‘mild’ and there was no reason she couldn’t live a very normal life. How wrong they were. To say Michelle’s death was a shock is a gross understatement. The official cause of death, “SUDEP…sudden unexpected death from epilepsy”.
It’s hard to believe that, in today’s world, so little is known about epilepsy, its causes or its treatment. Individuals and families that have been affected by this disease deserve some answers and the only way that will happen is if more time, money and effort is put into finding a cure, or at least better treatments. It is astonishing how many people and families are suffering from epilepsy and it is equally astonishing how little we all hear about it.
Michelle was a huge part of our family and community and loved by everyone she met and got to know. To say I am very proud of her is an understatement and to have her name connected to this gala and hopefully other fund-raising efforts is an honour she would be very humble about. She would not want anyone else to go through what she did.
- Bruce Reid