“Gill was my beautiful wife and my high school sweetheart, a young 44 year old who loved her family so so much. Gill had the most infectious laugh and smile that lifted the darkest day whilst taking everything in her stride. Everything seemed perfect, and then it was all gone to what can only be called the light switch effect. The heart break of losing Gill is so monumental I can’t find words to describe the loss.

Life without Gill is unbearable and the hole left is immense, this will never be filled within my heart and the hearts of our three children. Gill was so proud of our three children, Aaron 24 years, Holly 20 years and Lewis 13 years old. The mention of our children would often see the biggest smile on Gill’s face as she loved them all so dearly, often acting like a big sister as well as their mum.

Gill was the youngest daughter to Peter and Jean and younger sister to Louise. Gill’s infectious personality was widely felt by so many, Gill held her friends in such high regards and treated them as extended family.

Gill developed epilepsy through contracting glandular fever in her late teens, after close medical care the seizures became less frequent. As the years went by Gill had less and less problems with epilepsy. Gill lived a normal life, but had regular check-ups to ensure things were fine. Many years passed without any seizures leading to a clean bill of health (as close as possible ). We were never aware of SUDEP until the devastating news was given for Gill’s cause of death.

With the school holidays just starting, we had made the decision to have a surprise holiday abroad with the kids whilst enjoying a relaxing weekend at our caravan with our friends. A BBQ was planned on Saturday 23rd July as the weather forecast was perfect. With Gill relaxing in bed, I headed off to the supermarket to buy provisions for the BBQ. Upon my return our youngest son greeted me with tears streaming down his face saying mum had collapsed. I rushed in to the caravan to find Gill unconscious, I started CPR and contacted 999. The emergency services and the air ambulance arrived very quickly and tried in vain to save my world. I will never forget the spine chilling words, “Dave we would like you to hold Gill’s hand and say goodbye, we have lost her.”

To break the news to your children is the most harrowing ordeal I have ever encountered. We still struggle to accept that Gill is not here. Words can’t describe how empty life has become without her. Whilst I lay beside my beautiful wife for the last time, I promised that I would look after our kids and stay strong, I will not lie to anyone this is heartbreakingly hard every minute of every day. Gill taught me how to love and laugh and to open my heart and cry. After reading the testimonies on the memorial page we felt this would be a fitting tribute to remember such a remarkable beautiful fun loving wife, mother, daughter and sister.

We hope the memorial fund will inspire people to raise monies for research and the possibility of finding a cure.

Thank you for reading.

– David Birdsall, September 2016

To make a donation to Gill’s memorial fund, please use the link below.

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