"Within 14 hours of Colb first saying he had a headache, I was told my 25-year-old husband was on life support," Emily Cave recalled of the night the athlete fell ill

By Ashley Boucher
July 09, 2020 09:07 PM
Colby and Emily Cave
Emily Cave/Instagram

Three months after Colby Cave's sudden death after suffering a brain bleed in April, his wife Emily is opening up about his final days and their life together.

In an essay for ESPN, Emily recounted the "traumatic" night that Colby, a 25-year-old player on the Edmonton Oilers, fell ill.

The evening of April 6 began normally for the young couple — who were quarantining with her parents in Ontario amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — but around 11 p.m., the athlete said he had a headache.

"He said he was in a lot of pain. Colb was never sick. He didn't get the flu, never caught a cold, he was the epitome of health," Emily wrote, adding that she feared his headache might be a sign of something more serious than a migraine.

Emily said her husband of nine months "got significantly worse" throughout the night and woke up to vomit several times before she woke up her parents and they called an ambulance.

Colby and Emily Cave
emily cave/instagram

"By the time the ambulance got there, he was hypothermic and completely unresponsive," Emily said.

"It was so fast, so traumatic," she continued, explaining that Colby had surgery to remove a colloid cyst from his brain, and she was barred from being with him in the hospital due to COVID-19 concerns.

On her Instagram Stories Thursday, Emily shared a screenshot of the ESPN piece, adding, "Reminder: please do not complain about Covid restrictions 'ruining your life' by not being able to go to bars, on vacation, or get your nails done, etc. You have no clue."

"Within 14 hours of Colb first saying he had a headache, I was told my 25-year-old husband was on life support," Emily continued in the essay. "It wasn't until Thursday, when the doctor told me that Colby probably wasn't going to make it, that I was finally allowed into his hospital room, to physically be with him one last time, to tell him goodbye."

Emily explained that she and Colby dated long-distance for two years before being able to live in the same town because of his hockey career and that she "fell in love with Colby for many reasons, but most important was his character."

She said that her husband "wasn't just a good person, he was incredible. He always wanted to help other people."

"Every morning we had a mantra that we would say to each other: 'Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody.' That's how Colby and I lived," she said. "And even though he's no longer physically here with me, I know we are together, working as a married couple, and he's giving me strength from heaven to continue to inspire and help other people."

Emily said that Colby's way of life is what inspired her to share his story, even though the pain feels "unbearable" at times.

"I miss him more than words can describe, and it's still hard to process what all happened. But I decided if I wasn't vulnerable, if I wasn't honest about PTSD and grief, if I wasn't open about our story, I couldn't continue to be the wife who Colby married."

Emily, together with the Oilers, established the Colby Cave Memorial Fund to support "community programs involving mental health and will help underprivileged children with access to sports."