Oftentimes when our loved ones are acting a bit off, we blame it on life events that may alter their mood and behaviors. That’s what Emma Cotillard thought when her husband had been acting a bit strange shortly before they tied the knot. Her fiance, Justin, had shown signs of erratic behavior, but Emma assumed it was just his nerves about their upcoming nuptials.
Emma would soon learn that it was much more than erratic behavior.
After exchanging their vows, the two left for their honeymoon. Emma had been seven months pregnant with their first child at the time. One morning, she woke up to Justin yelling at her to get out of their room. As to be expected, Emma was very upset and confused over his behavior. Here they were on their honeymoon and she was pregnant with their baby and he was screaming at her to get out of their room.
“He thought I was a stranger,” said Emma. “He didn’t remember that I was seven months pregnant with our first baby.”
Due to the strange turn of events, the couple ended their honeymoon early so Justin could get checked out by his doctor. The shocking news came when the results of an MRI scan showed that Justin had a very aggressive and fatal brain tumor. Doctors told him that if he underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, he had a chance of prolonging his life for two years. The couple, who was obviously in shock by the diagnosis ended up meeting their baby girl five weeks early, as the additional stress caused Emma to go into labor early. Just by chance, their baby girl Mia was born on August 17, 2015, which happened to be the same day that Justin started radiation. While they were happy that the baby was healthy, they were distraught at the fact that Justin would only get to see his new daughter on the weekends because of his radiation therapy schedule.
The couple underwent the treatments that the doctors recommended, however; four months later, a scan revealed that the tumor had grown larger and metastasized. It had gotten so bad that doctors had deemed it as the most aggressive tumor they had seen in over a decade.
“They gave me two weeks to take my husband home before he died,” recalls Emma.
Being the fighter that Justin was, he ended up living for seven more months and was able to spend time with his daughter while celebrating his 30th birthday and another Christmas. And then toward the end of the seven months, Justin had declined so much that hospice had to care for him, but that didn’t stop him from pushing forward. It was as if he was waiting for one thing, and that thing was confirmation that baby Mia was going to be okay. Baby Mia who had chicken pox, was not allowed to see Justin for a few days, but the nurses made and exception one time so Justin could say goodbye to her. When it was time for Emma and Mia to go into the room to say goodbye, Justin had taken his last breath just moments before.
“I went back to his room, laid down on the bed next to him and told him that Mia was on her way,” said Emma. “That was when he let go. He died knowing that Mia was okay.”
Since Justin died in May 2016, Emma has been on a mission to help bring awareness to brain tumor symptoms so that patients can spot them earlier and have a better chance of getting treatment.