‘A bright light:’ Milford woman, 23, dies in her sleep, remembered for her love of others

MILFORD — Megan Claire Casey’s family wants her to be remembered as a loving and giving person who put others before herself.

Casey, 23, died in her sleep on New Year’s Day.

“Back at the beginning of November, Megan started experiencing seizures, and she and our family were in constant visits to medical facilities to receive answers, but tragically we did not receive answers to,” said Matthew Casey, Megan’s brother.

“It’s going to take a long time of healing for us to recognize these last few months with Megan,” he added, “but she did pass peacefully on New Year’s Day, and we believe from the medical examiner's input that it was a seizure that took her in her sleep in the middle of the night.”

When he found her, Casey said she was in a comfortable position, and she looked like herself and her usual sleeping behavior.

“The one piece of solace that I hold is in seeing her in that last moment that it appeared that she went as peacefully as a 23-year-old who was experiencing her condition could have,” he said. “She looked at rest.”

Megan Casey was born in Chicago on March 21, 1998, to Martin and Tracy Casey. She graduated from Jonathan Law High School in June 2016 and enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University with her major in communications.

“Megan was a bright light of a person, and she cared about others more than herself, and she showed that in a myriad of ways, mostly with her time,” said Matthew. “Megan was very giving with her time. She wanted to change the world through the ways we communicate with one another and put an emphasis on ensuring that every person felt like they belonged, especially in her orbit.”

Throughout her life, Megan was a person who put others before herself and made sure everyone’s voice was heard, which she accomplished by taking songs she found inspirational and twisting them in her way to help others with what they were going through, her family said.

“Megan was the type of person who anyone else’s struggles she took on as her own, especially if their struggle was something that someone had wronged them,” said Tracy Casey, Megan’s mother. “Her advocacy for others was a priority for her, and often she would put her needs secondary. Through the songs, she did several and multiple fundraisers, and her love of the stage and being the center of attention grew from this time that she pushed herself to sing.”

Tracy said Megan had never sung before, but she decided to sing because her sorority asked her to do it, and it helped them raise money to support the battle against anorexia.

“Once that first one went so well, she did it multiple times,” she said. “Her voice was also something she used to help resolve issues they didn’t know how to resolve. She would often call on their behalf to help right what had been done wrong; she viewed that within her communications role of life, and she felt her communication style helped her be able to do that.”

“We received some incredible videos of Megan performing on campus, and just hearing how the room would support her and light up when she would perform is a testament far more than entertainment value,” Matthew said.

After graduating, Megan started working at Tri-City Appliance, where Matthew said she gave “110 percent of her energy to her job.

“I remember on Christmas Eve she was fielding calls while we were wrapping gifts, and the way she would talk to people made them feel like she really cared,” he said. “She would get really great constant feedback of how she uplifted others. She just had a glow about connecting with others.”

As a family, they want Megan to be remembered not only as someone who would help anybody but also as a person who had a wonderful laugh and would fight to make each space inclusive of all.

“As much as she could, she wanted the space she was in to feel inclusive, and that included other people’s voices and especially included a heavy sense of positivity, laughter and optimism,” Matthew said. “Even in the worst of moments, she would crack up a joke or sing something. She would just make sure that every person who was feeling bad at the moment, and even during a positive moment, she wanted to uplift everyone in the room.”

“She went all out and felt such a sense of joy from giving and making other people happy,” Tracy added. “She was loved, and she loved, and as Matthew said, her laughter and she was always making sure everyone was OK.”

An example of how Megan was always thinking of others was when she went public on her Facebook account about her struggles with anxiety and depression, her mother said.

“She wanted people who were suffering that there were others here who had the same struggle and there were people loved them, who supported them and encouraged them to reach out to let people help them,” she said.

Teri Pacion, Megan’s aunt, said as giving as Megan was, she was an astute person, but she also had a great sense of humor.

“She had the timing,” said Pacion. “She was a strong person, and I feel like she had a very defined sense of what was right and what was wrong, and she used that strength to promote what she felt was the right thing people should be doing, like advocating for others.”

There are many ways Megan’s family will remember her, but something that they will always have with them is the life lessons they learned by just observing how Megan lived her life.

“We took a family trip to Europe, and while we were in Paris, Megan and I got matching tattoos in French. The French saying she got in English translates to ‘be beautiful in your own way,” said Matthew Casey. “I believe that line is radiating is the energy she gave and the mantra she lived in her life.”

“She taught me to not care as much of what people thought of me and to live according to my love and my own perspective,” said Tracy.

“She showed up regardless of what she went through,” added Pacion. “Just as we all do, she went through hard times, but she always bounced back and bounced back as the same Megan she always was, enthusiastic and ready to take on the world.

Matthew said when Megan started experiencing her seizures, she was suffering.

“Megan woke up each morning in pain, but Megan didn’t choose to stay in bed for the last months of her life. Instead, Megan chose to fight, every single day. Megan put on a smile for every single person, and she didn’t let her last two months with us be noticeably her last two months with us,” he said. “Megan lived up until her last moment. We celebrated New Year's Eve together, we watched the ball drop together, and through that last moment with her, I can hold and know and remember my sister as the happy, beautiful and strong person that she was.”