December 16, 1983-December 24, 2001
more photos at bottom
This is the
story of my daughter, Lindsay, whose life was cut short by a dreadful disease
Lindsay was born on Dec.16th, 1983. She was the baby of the family....and always will be. She was actually the only "planned" one out of our four wonderful children too. I remember the day I went to the doctor and he told me I could pick the time I wanted to deliver her since I was already dilated 6 centimeters, and had the braxton-hicks contractions pretty strong. This pregnancy was a special one for me since I knew this would be it for us. I had planned every detail out, and wanted it to be a peaceful, quiet delivery. (I had all natural childbirths and was a pro at this point)! My husband, Doug, was there for our last son's birth and was for Lindsay's as well. So, we went home from the doctor's visit in the morning and baked cookies together as a family to bring over to my friend's house who would be watching the kids for us. Then we went to the hospital at 5 p.m. where they broke my water, and proceeded to monitor the labor. It wasn't very long, and Lindsay was born at 6:14 p.m. She weighed 7 lbs. and was 19 1/2 in. long. It was everything we had wanted...peaceful, and beautiful. Her Daddy pulled her little body out after the head was delivered. And then she lay on my stomach, where he cut the umbilical cord. He then gave her a warm bath under heat lamps (which we had requested special) and she loved it. After she laid in my arms and nursed. I love to remember these moments, and as I write this I find it hard to believe that she turned 18 yrs old this year.
She was definitely a sweetie as a baby. We all loved her very much. Lindsay has three siblings: Brent, the oldest 29; Melanie, 28 (who loved being the Big Sister); and Joshua, 21. They are all our biological children even though not spaced that way!! To have a brother a few years older than her was nice. They generally played well together and Lindsay loved to follow Josh around. He was a patient little boy.
Lindsay was not a "frilly" little girl. Actually to get her to wear a dress usually required a bribe! - for special occasions! She was always an active kid, and kept up with the boys just fine!! As a matter of fact, she joined baseball and was the pitcher. She also joined hockey, and was the goalie and one of the two girls on the team!!
Lindsay loved animals always. She preferred animals over dolls too. She had a variety of animals..a rabbit named Hoppy, a teddy bear hamster named Rascal, then Hoppy 2 (after Hoppy 1), a German Shepard named Venus. She always wanted a cat but we didn't think the two would mix, so when Venus died, a little while later she came home with a little ball of black fur one day and said, "can we keep him, Mom?" "just hold him". Needless to say, I did and we kept him! He became a very spoiled cat, but very loved, especially by Lindsay. She dressed him up in doll clothes and treated him like a baby.
Lindsay always loved to be in front of a camera, even when she was little. And she would give you that great big beautiful smile. One of her other favorite things was babies. She hated the thought that she would be the baby. Always wanted me to have one more.
She loved to fish when she was little. Her Daddy and her would go fish on the shore. One day, she caught a whopper!! and was she excited! Almost as much as her Dad!
We enjoyed living here in the Adirondack Mts. and doing the outdoor activities with our family. She loved the camping trips, canoeing, waterskiing in the summer but her favorite time was the winter and the snow. We started out cross country skiing at four yrs. old. Then one day she wanted to join Brent and Melanie at downhill skiing (along with Josh).
They are quick learners and it wasn't long after that the idea of snowboarding came!! "I'll never ski again" she'd say, and she didn't! She was as good as anyone on the snowboard and could keep up with her brothers on the black diamond trails. I will definitely miss her screams of excitement coming down the trails.
It seems like one day she was this little girl and the next...BAM...a young woman. The fad was to wear these WIDE pants that you could fit two people in one leg. And for shirts...XL. So you never were aware of any figure on them anyways. Ha. One day, as we were preparing for her older sister's wedding, I asked Lindsay to try on a dress I had been given. It was beautiful, fitting and classy. She came downstairs and told us she didn't like it. When she went back upstairs her Dad told me that's ok! When she starts wearing "normal" clothes, we'll be in trouble! She was a beautiful girl and hadn't seen it yet!!
But one day the baggy jeans left and the fitting clothes were there, along with the lipstick, the hair, the mirrors, and the non-stop phone calls!! All part of being a teenager. She loved talking on the phone, socializing with her friends and meeting new ones. The house is so much quieter now...a sound I knew would come but not now.
As I struggle to get to the end of my memories, I feel very blessed to say that we shared a strong faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. Lindsay attended Christian schools most of her life and gave her life to Christ when she was 15 yrs old. That fact alone has comforted us more than anything in this world, and we do know that one day we will be with her again.
Lindsay received her GED diploma in June 2001. She worked very hard to achieve it and she did. She loved music, all sorts of it from pop to even some classical and Christian.
She also loved to "work out" as she called it at our wellness center. Josh and her had developed a pretty regular routine of going and she had really got in shape! One of her famous lines was "feel my stomach"!! It was definitely getting hard! Josh would call her "Britney" (Britney Spears).
One day in Dec. of 2001, I suggested that we all go out and chop down our Christmas tree this year. We had done it many years but somehow hadn't in the past several. Josh and Lindsay both agreed, so we got ourselves dressed up and took the saw and rope and drove to a tree farm out in the country. It was a perfect time because the snow hadn't yet fallen, an it was a sunny day. The kids were so cute too. Lindsay would go from tree to tree and pick the short fat ones. We'd laugh and go to another tree, and then another one. Every one seemed just right until we saw a different one! We took pictures and had many laughs. Then we chose a small version tree for the dining room. We went to pay for them and had forgotten the money at home! So Josh and Lindsay drove the 20 minutes back to our house to get the money. We laughed about that too. When we finally got the trees up, she sat on the couch admiring the tree and said, "don't you think that is the perfect tree?" Anyone who came in she'd ask that. I thank God we have that memory. Christmas will always be special for it. And we will go cut down our tree again....
Lindsay turned 18 on Dec. 16th. Her girlfriends wanted to give her a party, which they did. The kids came for breakfast that morning. She had a friend here from Ohio, Desiree, and had to leave a few days after.
Melanie and her husband, Jason, were not going to be with us for Christmas so they came on Dec.22nd for a little pre-Christmas celebration. I had made a big lasagna dinner (one of Lindsay's favorites), salad and bread and even cheesecake for dessert (which Lindsay refused to eat). She was really watching her intake of calories! She said, "I have willpower".
THE MENINGITIS STORY
Lindsay had applied to our local ski resort for a job and was hired. She was so excited about her new job. One of her best friends was also hired there so they planned on traveling together. Lindsay wanted to spend the night at Elizabeth's house that night of the pre-Christmas dinner, so kissed us goodbye and told us she loved us and was out the door. Little did we know it would be our last real happy moment...
On Sat. Doug and I went to do Christmas shopping. I called home about 8:45 p.m. and Lindsay answered the phone and said to please be quiet when we came in because she had a headache and was going to bed right now. Headaches were not that unusual for her. In fact, she had migraines for a few years. Although this past year had not been bothered much with them. We told her we'd be quiet and were on our way home. (It's an hour's drive).
When we arrived home, Lindsay was asleep so I didn't wake her. We brought in the gifts, etc. and went to bed. About midnight Lindsay came into our bedroom and said she felt sick like she was going to vomit. She had been exposed to three of her friends a few days before who had the flu-bug. So I told her she was probably getting the bug. I went in to lay with her in her bed. About 4:00am, she woke up with a high fever. I took it and it was 104. I told Doug to get the Tylenol. We were out! So he quickly went to the corner store and was back in 5 minutes. I gave her the Tylenol, which was hard to swallow because she also had a sore throat. I took her temp again and within 20 minutes it was down to 100. I laid back down with her and she slept again. Lindsay woke up about 7:00 and said I could go back in to my bed. She said she was okay. I asked her if she was sure, felt her head, and she said yes.
So, I went to my room. Doug got up and went to church at 10:15am. I heard Lindsay get up and started down the stairs. (My bedroom is at the top of the staircase). So, even though I was still exhausted< I got up to check on her. She was laying on the couch with her blanket and pillow, shivering. I told her she definitely had the flu bad! She was so bummed because we were planning on having all her aunts and cousins for Christmas. She was very excited about that. Her oldest brother, Brent, flew in from Florida Saturday. night and arrived while she was asleep.
Her Dad arrived back from church and made breakfast for us all, a kind of tradition on Sunday. Brent got up and joked with her about being sick...little did we know how serious this was! We went in to eat, and Lin was still on the couch. About 15 minutes went by, and she vomited for the first time. I helped her clean up and brought her back up to her bed. I stayed in her room with her. She rested and slept. I read, and picked up her clothes in her room. I was even asking her whose sweater this was or whose pants these were...and she answered me fine. Then she went to sleep and I decide to go into my room and maybe wrap a few gifts. I wasn't in there but 5 minutes. and I heard her. She had got up, out of bed and had diarrhea. I helped her into the bathroom, she sat on the toilet and was a mess. I helped her into the shower and then dried her off and got new pajamas on her. I remember her yelling at me, not wanting me to be in the bathroom, but then she quickly apologized and said she wanted to thank Dad and me for taking care of her and for everything we did. I brought her back to bed, and about 5:00p.m. she woke up, had more diarrhea. I turned on the light. Put a towel under her. I knew something wasn't right then. I laid her on her stomach to clean her up and that's when I noticed a slightly reddish bumpy rash on the back of her legs and a little of her back. Immediately, I wondered if she had had the chicken pox when she was little, and right away I couldn't remember. Then after I had her washed up, I had her on her back and noticed one dark spot above her eyebrow. I yelled for my husband and told him to call the ambulance. My two sons were just getting back from doing the Christmas grocery shopping. At first, he said we could bring her, but I insisted on the ambulance. Lindsay was not able to really talk at this point. Her eyes looked glazed and I was scared! The ambulance came within 5 minutes. Our neighbor is an EMT and arrived first along with the crew was our associate pastor. When I saw him, I was confused because I didn't realize he was a volunteer. After taking a few minutes for the preliminary exam, they put her in a chair like gurney to get her down our staircase safely. We sat out front of our house for what seemed like forever but was only a few minutes. We were having strange weather and the roads were drizzly rainy and freezing. Upon arriving at the hospital which was only 10 minutes away, she was examined immediately and within a few minutes we were told by the doctor he suspected MENINGITIS. We had only ever heard the "word". We did not know anything about it whatsoever. the symptoms, what to look for. nothing!!!! If we had known, she would have been there pronto after the first flu symptom! But if I would have known about MENINGITIS, She would have had the vaccine to prevent it in the first place!
We were told this was life threatening and that they were in contact with Burlington (The University of Vermont Medical Center). They were more apt to have the experience to deal with something of this nature. Normally, we would have life-flighted her over by helicopter but with the freezing rain, it was not possible. So the doctors proceeded very quickly with spinal tap, pushed antibiotics through her with the IVs. Lindsay's skin was now discoloring before our eyes - blotches of black & blue marks all over her skin. We didn't know what was happening to her. We never had to leave her side, not once, even for the spinal tap. I thank God for that! She wasn't real coherent but could say a few words. We knew her body was in extreme pain, even to touch her legs hurt her. She kept saying she had to go pee. We tried a bed pan but she couldn't.
We were told we should call Melanie and Jason, now in N.J. at his family's home for the upcoming holiday. A very compassionate doctor came in with me to call them. Melanie has a biology degree and knows somewhat about the medical end of things. When the doctor explained to her what Lindsay had and if it were his sister he would come home, she knew it was serious. They left immediately from N.J. and traveled to home (usually a 6 hr trip), in a blizzard, not even being able to see the road at times.
They stabilized Lindsay and brought her up to the ICU and we were then told just how critical this was, but that there was always hope. When she got into the bed and hooked up to everything, Lindsay said her last words to us. She said, I love that song", (there was not any music playing), and I said me too. And then she said," I'm so glad they're coming". I now know what that meant, even though I didn't at the time. She heard the music of the angels coming and saw them, I believe. Our Ass. pastor came and stayed with us, prayed over Lindsay.
She was having difficulty breathing so they intubated her. They had her hooked up to all sorts of machines. Had the heart monitor on her, had the nurse taking her blood pressure every 15 minutes, and couldn't get a good oxygen level reading. They catherized her so help eliminate.
We were told to call the family. So about midnight, we phoned everyone. They live an hr. away. everyone came except my parents who are not in good health. We called her best friends, Erin and Elizabeth. Their parents came with them too. We must have had about twenty-five people in one of the empty ICU rooms. Then we all had to take CIPRO as a precautionary measure to insure we didn't get it. Melanie and Jason arrived about 2:00am.
The whole thing was an absolute nightmare. Something out of a movie. I think I had an out of body experience because it all seems so unreal still. Maybe that's how we are protected, otherwise we wouldn't be able to handle it. The absolute swiftness of this disease is mind boggling!! That is one of the hardest things for us to comprehend. how there can actually be something out there that kills within hours in today's technology and medical advances!!
Lindsay's kidney's went into renal failure (another term we didn't know). We were told to face the facts that she was going to die, and that there was nothing we could do!! Needless to say, I told that doctor I was a Christian and there was always hope!! And he said I better talk to God and not to him! That was it for that doctor!!! I told the head nurse I did not want him near my daughter. She called our family physician in.
At that point, Lindsay's condition had worsened. We were all taking turns going in to be with her. I felt very sick to my stomach, probably from exhaustion and the fact of the situation. I believe sometimes that mothers have an instinct and I felt like God was going to take her home to HIM. Her Dad was with her allot of the time. He told her that Jesus was with her and to call on his name. I am so grateful for that.
In the morning, the weather cleared up and I had personally called the doctor over in Vt. to speak with him. He said we could airlift her and he would care for her if we wanted, although he made it clear he didn't know if they could do anything more for her. We were all excited, and ran around signing papers, sending our kids home for some clothes, etc. The life flight was called and arrived. Just as they came in, Lindsay went into cardiac arrest. The team started CPR on her, and after awhile got a heart beat again. But then it stopped again. I had told the doctor we wanted to go in before she died. We entered her room (still in the masks and gloves which we had to wear), and as they were doing the compressions on her heart, I told them NO, she wouldn't want this...let her go. I believe Lindsay had already left us before but God had given her a little extra time for her family to all be with her. She died about 11:30 am on Dec 24th.
To some this may be an awful day to remember a child's death. to us we remember it as her birthday into heaven, and what a birthday...almost sharing Christ's birthday. Christmas was her favorite holiday. She even begged a little this year to open a few gifts early. It's our favorite holiday as well for wonderful family memories.
This experience has changed us all for ever. I can say we were a nice family, close, and I like think good people all around. But because of Lindsay dying, I know I am a better person now. I feel I see the world in a whole different light. My priorities have completely changed. My faith is stronger than it ever was, and I have a totally different view of what I want to do.
My advice to anyone reading this who have children in their lives in any way, get the vaccines!! Our government does not think it is necessary to require them and will not cover them with ins. but it is vital that they be protected!! When something like this hits YOUR family, YOU become a statistic---the ONE IN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND that contracts it!! It makes a difference when it's YOU!
Know the symptoms of meningitis and bring your child into the ER and demand tests for meningitis. Who cares if it's negative...at least it's negative! But, also know that the first tests can come out that way. Medical personnel misdiagnose this disease very frequently!! They are also ones that need to be informed and educate.
Lastly, teach young people and especially teenagers not to share drinks, water bottles, lipsticks, etc. This disease knows no boundaries, no color, and does not discriminate!! Protect your loved ones and I pray this tragedy will never happen to anyone you love or even know.
Lindsay told a close friend of ours in a dream, "tell them I'm in their hearts now" and we know she is. We will always love you, Lindsay.
This has been the most difficult time of our entire life. To lose our child, our baby, our daughter is something I know we will never get over. I have had many other parents tell me that you never do. The grieving part of this has been a learning experience also. My sister (bless her heart), lost her child, Chelsea, to a brain tumor 3 yrs before Lindsay died. I never knew the pain she went through, until this happened to me. I don't even have to say anything because she understands perfectly how it feels. A bond I wish we didn't have to share so deeply.
Lindsay Nicole Jerdo
12/16/83 - 12/24/01
Remembering your sweet smile
is easy for us to do,
We only have to close our eyes
and know that it is you.
You are here with us ,always close,
we know without a doubt.
We don't have to question it.
We feel it in our hearts & all about.
It's something we can't explain,
we only know it's true..
love doesn't die, it never will...
when we love someone like you.
And so today, we remember you
like we do every single day.
You're in our hearts always, Lin,
and there you will always stay.
We know you are rejoicing
with Jesus Christ our King,
and one sweet day we'll be together
and we'll all rejoice and sing.
So Merry Christmas, Lindsay,
keep singing for our King
and help us each day to remember
that it's your song that we must sing!
With Love Forever,
Mom & Dad
Lindsay, our baby, we love you still...
and hold you in our hearts and forever will.
We miss you more than words can ever say,
and can't wait to be with you again one day.
We hold onto the memories and thoughts of you
your beautiful smile and laughter too.
Hold us up and help us to be strong.
And help the days to not be long.
Our love is with you, like you are with us.
God give us the courage to always trust.
And one day we WILL be together again,
and the pain and sorrow will come to an end.
(written by Mom 3/30/03)
Christmas 2000 with Lindsay, she went home to heaven Christmas Eve 2001. Celebrating mom's birthday.
A Gift From God, Lindsay and the Angels, came Liam
pictured left are Lindsay's brother Brent, her sister Melanie her new nephew Liam.
right are Lindsay's mom and dad/ Deb and Doug top, bottom brother in law Jason, sister Mel, Stacey holding nephew Baby Liam and brother Brent.
Josh joined Lindsay in Heaven, February 2005
Read messages to Josh
Uncle Josh and Liam
Poems for Lindsay BACK Lindsay's Mom Happy Birthday Lindsay Dear Lindsay With Love