When did normal go away …

18 Feb

As most of you know, I lost my son, Evan, to bacterial meningitis almost 14 years ago.   Before then, we were a typical family.  We were busy with raising our two boys, taking them from soccer to basketball to baseball practices, helping with homework, and enjoying being a family.  When my boys went off to college, I did not celebrate being an “empty nester.”  I loved having the boys around.  I loved being a mom, having the cocoon of my family close by.


I did everything I knew to do as a parent, to protect my children.  I took them for routine medical visits, made sure they had their vaccinations, sports physicals, dental visits.  None of that was an effort – it was just what I expected to do as a parent, what I wanted to do as a parent.


I don’t understand parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, or who think that “alternative” vaccination schedules are appropriate.  Don’t these parents know that they are playing a deadly game of Russian Roulette with their children’s lives?  How would these parents feel if that precious life was taken from them, and a vaccine could have made a difference?  How fast would all of that anti-vaccine rhetoric disappear?


I don’t want to even think about that happening to a family, because I know the years of unending grief when you lose a child.  I know how you love a child so much, that when that child is gone, you will never get over it.  I want all parents to protect their children and follow the science.  Vaccines are safe.  Vaccines are life-savers.  That life saved could be the life of your child.

13 Responses to “When did normal go away …”

  1. Kim February 20, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    So true, I lost my 16 yr old daughter Jessica Marie to Neisseria Meningitis in 04. Life changed completely. It seems like unless some people know of someone who has been effected by a serious disease, they dont think vaccines are important. How wrong can they be. I only wish we had know about this vaccine back then, and been aware and informed. It doesnt always only happen to college age people. The vaccine for HPV is very important too.

    • Lynn February 23, 2012 at 12:44 am #

      Hi Kim, I am so sorry for your loss. I know the grief is endless. I didn’t know anything about meningitis before my son got sick, and how I wish I had. I think our stories are the stories that can convince parents to vaccinate. You are very correct about HPV, for both boys and girls, the pertussis booster, and a yearly flu shot for all adolescents.

      • Subhash March 5, 2012 at 9:32 am #

        for that motherly isnitnct! Nobody should act based solely on what their doctors tell them is best nor on what some celebrity has said. I would like to point out that I don’t know anyone who has made the decision to not vaccinate (and I know several) that has not agonized over it I still do and my kids are 9 and 6.Like you, I went about things the accepted way with my first until various things made me start questioning. So with my second I researched (and am still researching) and decided to wait a year to do any vaccinating and then only got one at a time so it took a long time to complete that first schedule. Plus I just completely opted out of a few (and now wish I had opted out of more) and will probably forgo boosters. And, no lie, it is one confusing web of information (and lack-thereof) out there I’m left with that damned-if-I-do, damned if I don’t, feeling. But I’ve gotten to the place where I evaluate things based on the risk of the vaccine (and it’s not just concerns about the thimerisol but all the other toxins that are included and have never been tested most of the safety studies on vaccines were only performed on the biological components of the vaccines and not the adjuvant/preservative cocktail that’s included) versus the risk of the disease I’d also like to point out that it is still possible to carry these diseases even though you have been vaccinated such is the case with pertussis. The problem with this is that you may be carrying (which means you can pass it on) the disease but you are unaware of it because you are not sick if you are not sick you are not taking the same kind of precautions that a sick person would, like staying home, staying away from vulnerable people, washing hands more often, etc. etc. So the idea that it’s the unvaccinated population that is the sole cause of these epidemics’ is kind of ridiculous.Again, thanks for taking the time to write these posts and for your level-headed views and sorry for my long-winded response

      • Kim March 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm #


        Did we meet a few months after my daughter passed away in 2004? At a coffee shop in grosse pointe? Your name sounds very familair. My husband and I had also lost his two sons in a house fire 11 months before, at their mothers home. Do you remember?

  2. Sandip March 5, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    I actually did a sreach in your blog to see if you had written any articles on vaccination, and I’m glad I did! I have an 8-month-old son and I have chosen not to vaccinate any further. He received a few vaccines because our original pediatrician bullied me into it, but I’ve decided to stop and to seek religious exemption so I can get him into daycare and school. I feel like I have a huge battle ahead of me because I’m in NY and from what I understand, exemption is hard to come by. I’ve read some of the comments on this post and will finish when I have some more time. Like many parents, I worry a little bit about some of the vaccine preventable diseases that he could catch, but I worry much, much more about the vaccines themselves. I appreciate you sharing this information and will happily devour any information you provide on the topic. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Manuel March 5, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Hey ladies Thank you Danielle for iaktng a stand and having a voice on this opinion. I wasn’t sure when I was going to get some time to write out so much, in such length to Ambers comments. I think that to a point Danielle was right in this you two (as it seems with most everyone who stands on either side of this issue) just ARENT going to see eye to eye. The back and forth will go on and on- and there really is no way to convince the other of how right or wrong they are on their belief of this topic. It doesn’t matter how much we nit-pick the post apart, or how many new articles or videos are posted to affirm it. Amber is going to feel as she does, and Danielle is going to feel the opposite. This post isn’t what convinced people in the first place about why they choose not to vaccinate, just as this post isn’t what convinced Amber to be supportive of vaccines either. We all were one way or the other long before I put this post together. I appreciate the comments, but whoever gets the last word isnt the winner in this debate. Thank you for your comments. I will leave them up simply for people to be able to read and make whatever conclusions that they want to on their own. Again- there are 2 schools of thought & each side is going to feel strongly that theirs is the right one to follow no amount of one comment on top of comment is going to change that.Thank you! Please feel free to pass this along.

  4. Errol Mccamy March 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    I genuinely value your work , Great post.

  5. Ashley March 14, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    Pediatricians do not “bully” parents. They beg them to protect their children, and others. Their job is to care for patients, to keep them healthy, and anti-vax parents make this extremely difficult to do.

    To this day, after having done this work for several years now, I find it remarkable that people who choose not to vaccinate their children can look a parent who has lost a child to a vaccine-preventable disease in the eye (mostly virtually) and say that they don’t vaccinate. It hurts my heart. Thank you, Lynn, for your grace in talking about your son’s death.

    • Kim March 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Yes Yes Yes, Thank God for these vaccines. Havent people read about what life was like before most of these vaccines? Children were alot sicker and died before their time then. I wish the doc was able to inform me of the vaccine for meningitis before she passed, since she was only 16 then and a junior in high school, it wasnt then recommended for that age group.

  6. Trish Parnell April 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Hi AB, sounds like you have a problem.

    Not sure if you and the dad are divorced or married, but if you’re divorced, you do have legal options (see this post for info: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/?s=vaccination).

    If you’re married, it’s harder to find a solution. There are several organizations (National Meningitis Association, Families Fighting Flu, PKIDs, ECBT) that work with advocates whose children have been affected by preventable diseases, and some whose children have died from such infections. Perhaps reading these stories would change your husband’s point of view.

    There are also many scientific studies supporting the safety of vaccines. Would he be willing to read any of them?

    If you need help finding resources, let us know.

    Good luck to you, and to your daughter. Without proper vaccination she’s at the mercy of many preventable infections, and that must be hard for you.

    • AB April 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      Thank you for sharing. I will definitely research the sites you posted. My daughter’s father and I never married. He later married and has two children with his wife. Their children are not vaccinated at all. He was vaccinated as a child but attributes that to his mother not having enough information to make an educated decision not to vaccinate. He is a chiropractor and I feel much of his viewpoint comes from his schooling. I consider myself to be pretty conservative when it comes to my family’s health. The body has the power to heal many things on its own. I don’t run to the doctor every time my kids cough and we are not pill poppers. I know many chiropractors who made a decision to vaccinate their children so I think my next step is to have a conversation with those people so I can gain a deeper understanding.

  7. Amy Pisani April 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Dear AB, Every Child By Two has provided information for families in your situation..several of whom have gone to court to seek resolution of their differences. This is very difficult as it seems that your daughter is now caught in the middle at an age when she is becoming aware of her own opinions on issues such as this. I’m assuming she is up to date on her childhood vax and needs her boosters, plus HPV and mening vaccine. Unfortunately with all the recent outbreask of pertussis/whooping cough she truly is in need of that booster shot. we have stories of families affected by vaccine preventable diseases that may help sway your husband’s point of view http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org and I also offer the following blog post from a formerly anti-vaccine child who changed her mind when she herself became a parent..it is a very powerful story. http://shotofprevention.com/2012/03/06/laras-story-growing-up-anti-vaccine/
    Anything we can do, please let us know by contacting us through vaccinateyourbaby.org

    • AB April 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

      Amy – thanks for the information. I worry about the recent outbreaks of measles and pertussis, some cases not that far from where I live. It is a very difficult situation, especially given the stage of development my daughter is at. She expresses often her desire to be able to make her own decisions so I really have my hands full. She is not up-to date on all her shots so I’ve been receiving some pressure from the school district. I believe these recent outbreaks are a result of parents being “scared’ out of vaccinating their children. My daughter’s father and I never married, and this issue would undoubtedly have been a thorn in our relationship.

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