For thirty three weeks now you have read my thoughts, my heart, and my way of dealing with the loss of a child. You have also read words from a step mother and her perspective of dealing with the loss of a step daughter. You have read about Lindsay, her life, her passing and how she effected so many people. You have read about our family, friends and the unsung hero’s that have touched my family’s life forever. Today you are going to hear from Lindsay, her words, her sense of humor, her dreams, and her passion to become a surgeon and why. There are days when I sit and read over all the messages Lindsay sent to me, me and her mother, me and Kelli, me and Jarrett and I wait for the next one to pop up knowing it never will. Below is a text her mother and I received while Lindsay was attending the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medline in Chapel Hill the summer of 2016. In my mind I can see her sitting with her legs crossed, that foot moving 100 miles per hour, and her fingers going even faster, as she composed this message.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned at this camp is that I definitely want to pursue being a surgeon. I’ve always had the thought in the back of my mind but I never thought I was smart enough. Well I am smart enough. I’ve been really stressed out about colleges not accepting me due to my grades freshman and sophomore year but something I also learn is they don’t completely throw your application away due to failures. They look on how you fixed it and I’ve really grown academically junior year and I know I will senior year. I also learned that undergrad majors and where you go to college means nothing to medical schools. I love UNC and this is where i want to go for undergrad but I know I don’t have to go here and I don’t have to major in a science (even tho science is the only thing I’m good at) I also learned that you pick this career because you love it, and not because of the money.
If I wanted to do medicine for the money, I would’ve picked anesthesiology. Cardio and trauma are two things I know I could absolutely excel in but I also learned to keep an open mind because I know I’ll change my mind every year at least. Air Force ROTC sounded like a really good option for me, but listening to 5th year residents speak today, I really just need to focus on my specialty and I don’t think I can commit to it if I’m going to commit all of my time to college, med school, and then working in a hospital for 7 years and taking boards. So that’s what I’ve learned in 3 days just thought I’d share with you guys lol.”
After reading this about three times and trying to picture my little girl handling a trauma I responded to her “Sounds like you have learned a lot, especially about yourself.” Her mother told her, “Glad to hear you are taking it all in.”
Then in true Lindsay fashion she said ” But like, I’m going to be a surgeon.”
“I got so many compliments on my running rip stitch, the teacher was amazed it was only my second time”
I was a very proud father, and still am today. As I read these text message’s for the hundredth time I can still see the determination she had to become a surgeon. The lessons she learned, like if you make a mistake your life isn’t ruined and that hard work brings many blessings.
I have hundreds upon hundreds of text and messages from Lindsay, that I read when I have the need to feel closer to her. When I need to relive that one special moment in time, and when I, a fifty three old father needs to remember a life lesson or two. Lindsay, in life, and in her passing, taught me as much as I ever taught her.
As I scrolled down, like so many times before, to the last text I see and the last text I ever received from Lindsay, the same thought always enters my mind.
You had to leave before 06:00 because your mother got the call at 06:08 from the E.M.S. workers. You left early, why?
Why did you leave early?
Why didn’t you sit in the driveway for 10 seconds and sing Beyonce to the top of your lungs? Why didn’t you check your hair, your makeup in the mirror just one more time? Why, for once, did you not forget something and have to run back in the house?
Why, Lindsay Lou, why didn’t you wait until 6?