The middle of November will be a day an Airdrie mother will never forget and something no parent or paramedic wishes on anyone else. Jayme Erickson said Nov. 15 was the day her “life was changed forever.”
The paramedic had responded to a multi-vehicle collision west of town with her shift partner around 4:30 p.m. Once there she said there were two patients, one of which was the passenger who was entrapped in the vehicle and critically injured.
Erickson said she sat in the car and attended to the passenger while firefighters extracted the person and the medical team at STARS took over patient care before making the flight to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
Her shift had ended shortly after they wrapped up at the crash scene and she went home as usual. However, that’s when Erickson said, “My worst nightmare as a paramedic (came) true.”
A doorbell chime and a knock at the door from police no parent wants to get.
RCMP told Erickson that her 17-year-old daughter Montana had been involved in a collision — the same one she had just got home from.
“The critically injured patient I had just attended to, was my own flesh and blood. My only child. My mini-me,” she said in a post on Facebook.
“Her injures were so horrific I did not even recognize her.”
Erickson rushed to the hospital where she was informed her daughter had “injuries not compatible with life” and said the pain she felt and still feels to this day by the sudden loss of her child “is like no pain I have ever felt, it is indescribable.”
‘She gave one last gift’
Surrounded by family — both blood and those who work alongside her on the frontlines — Jayme spoke at a news conference held Nov. 22, telling reporters who Montana was as a person along with the type of girl she was growing up to be.
“Anybody who knew Montana, they’d call her firecracker,” Erickson said adding with laughter that after all, “she was her mother’s daughter.”
“She would love fiercely if you were her friend, she would love you to the end of the world and back and she would do anything for you.
“She was a fighter. And she fought until the day that she died.”
In the end Erickson said her daughter was “able to give one last gift” — the gift of an organ donation.
Jayme said two of the organ donations by Montana were life-saving.
“We’re so happy to know that our baby girl is living on through others and in the wake of this tragedy, she has saved other people.”
Outpour of condolences, school division support
Global News learned Montana was a high school student at George McDougall High School along with an active swimmer with the Nose Creek Swim Association.
The local school division, Rocky View Schools said their thoughts and deepest condolences are with the Erickson family, friends and all who grieve her loss.
“A divisional team of counsellors have been available at the school for any students who may want to talk to someone,” a statement by Rocky View Schools said.
“School staff are paying close attention to student reactions to offer caring support to all who may need it. Staff in need of support have been encouraged to connect with our Employee Assistance Program.”
Elsewhere, many posted their condolences for the loss on social media along with the GoFundMe page that’s been set up to help support the family. Many called Montana a person who treated everyone with kindness, a girl who lit up the room and one who was loved by so many.
Erickson said since that fateful day, the family has been “overwhelmed with grief and absolutely gutted.”
Feeling broken and as if a piece is missing from her, Erickson ended her Facebook post with:
“Love with all your heart. Hold those close to you. Make memories. ‘If you’re going to love somebody, hold on as long and as strong as you can… til you can’t.’”