Poems for Vivienne - by Kenny McDonald

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

Kenny is a Scotland native, father, and widowed husband. Kenny's sweet wife, Vivienne, sadly lost her battle to IPF at a very young age. Our team discovered Kenny on Facebook, where he had written poems in honor of his beloved. After reading multiple poems, our team reached out to Kenny and heard his remarkable story of love and hardship. Kenny's poems can be found under a Facebook account he created with the name "Pulmonary Fibrosis Poems". Kenny is considering having these poems published into a book one day.

This is Kenny's Story.

I posted this on the PF UK site and I would love you all to take the time to read this an know what an amazing human being Vivienne was.

Can I just say all of you are just amazing. I don't have to tell you this but I honestly need you to know how brave Vivienne was. Vivienne when she was young had a very abusive dad. He ended up in prison and her mum passed away with a brain haemorrhage when she was only seven. She was in and out of foster care and she eventually ended up with a lovely family who adopted her. Her brother commited suicide at 16 and her sister moved to Australia.

I met Vivienne when she was 18 in 2002. We moved backed to Scotland and married 3yrs later. In all the time we were together, she suffered 9 miscarriages !!. She was told she would never get pregnant then at 28 she fell ill with an autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis ( muscle wasting disease). In roughly the 4th year of her PF illness she beyond any expectations fell pregnant. We couldn't believe it as she was so ill all the time. We went to hospital expecting to just see an empty sac in her scan but amazingly she was 3mths pregnant !! She was told that her and Jacobs chances of survival were zero and if there were complications who should they save an she unselfishly automatically said save my baby an I just cried.

The next 33 weeks were hell for me worrying about both and the outcome. During her pregnancy Vivienne ended up with arthritis, diabetes, pulmonary hypertension, fibromyalgia, polymyositis, anemia and she had pcos before hand. It was time for the pregnancy and I was terrified. There was so many people for the delivery and a specialist Pulmonary team also. Whilst having Jacob Vivienne was on 40 litres of Oxygen and I was told if they had to put her under that she wouldn't be able to fight back. We went in at 6.30 am an Jacob was born at 10.47 am by cesarian. Vivienne got to touch Jacobs hand then she was immediately taken to intensive care and Jacob to special baby care. I promised I wouldn't go an see him till we were together. It was the longest couple of days of my life wondering if I would lose one or both but amazingly they both pulled through.

Vivienne had the most amazing 18mths with Jacob. She got to see his first Christmas, first birthday, see him walking and hear him call her mum. She never complained about her illness and just got on with it whilst still willing to help others. She knew what was coming and so did I. Unbeknownst to me, she had been writing letters to Jacob hiding them amongst her things knowing I would find them after she passed away when I sorted her things out. I cried my eyes out because she was thoughtful to the last and didn't want to worry or upset me. Why am I telling you all this you might all ask ?! I'm telling you because I wanted to share with you all what a kind, beautiful, caring, generous inspirational woman she was and she has changed me into a different person. She has especially taught me the meaning of compassion, forgiveness and most of all caring.

Please may I add that in Viviennes final days before she came home which was about 4 wks before she passed she tried to commit suicide. I was angry at the time but also seen where she was coming from. She ended up in high dependency with a paracetamol overdose and pneumonia. She spent three weeks in HDU then she was transferred to a ward. She made a miraculous recovery an when I spoke to her at her bedside I asked why?!. She said she felt guilt, shame, pain, tired and sheer heartbreak because feeding Jacob, holding him and even playing with him was just too much and she just wanted to give him the love she didn't get in her early years. I cried so much an just held her and felt guilty because it was things I was able to do an her seeing that must have been painful. She spent a week in the ward then got home on the friday and driving home everything was so surreal and numb but I couldn't put my finger on it. I was glad she was getting home but empty also.

We got home and I made her tea which she ate then she went to bed. She slept so long then she amazingly found the strength to come through to the living Room in the morning. She insisted on feeding Jacob which I normally do but I had to put her hands in mine to help steady her hands which were painful and swollen. She then wanted Jacob lifted on her chest to cuddle him which she hadn't done for so long. I tried to take some of the weight off to help her but she was still hurting. She started crying an I felt so bad especially as Jacob wanted his mum. She went to bed after dinner and stayed there. I was lucky as my daughter was allocated to me as a carer. Vivienne didn't want any tea an I just sobbed and told my daughter I was done an couldn't do it anymore, I was an emotional wreck. Jacob had not long got over bronchialitis and there was a fireworks display across the road. I went through to the bedroom where Vivienne was sleeping and went over to the window and Jacob was getting excited at the fireworks. I said to Vivienne, look Vivienne he's loving the fireworks as we could see from our window. She turned her head smiled at Jacob an that's the last time she saw him. She was ill again but point blank refused to go to hospital or let me phone the doctor, obviously she'd had enough an I didn't see it at the time. I put Jacob to bed watched some telly then went to bed myself at ten. She was fine and sleeping an she was in that much pain I couldn't cuddle or hold her.

I woke up at five and she was still. My son from my previous marriage who slept on the couch tried to revive her but she was gone. I was inconsolable and blamed myself for not waking. Jacob woke up an HR later and he wanted his mum but how do you tell an 18mth old child his mummy is in heaven. Luckily with the support of my older siblings they helped me as I would have been so lost without them coming to comfort me. This is why I hold an affinity with you all as warriors as I care about all of you and your own journeys. I'm always here if needed.....keep breathing xx

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