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Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a pediatrician, married mom of three biological children and one foster son, my life was busy, rushing off to my office four days a week, seeing patients for three and working as a medical director of a local physician organization for one. I balanced this with rushing off to shuttle my kids to after sports and other after school activities. All of this changed one day in August of 2018 when my 14 year old son, Andy, was killed in a car accident. I felt like my life was over, and in some ways it was over, and a new life was forced to begin in its place. 

Grief is seldom discussed openly in our culture, and the death of a child makes people feel even more uncomfortable. On this blog and podcast, ‘Losing a Child: Always Andy’s Mom’, the topic is approached openly and honestly, speaking to people who have lost loved ones and experts who help care for them. Whether you are a parent experiencing loss or someone who wants to support another going through this tragedy, this blog and podcast strives to offer hope and help.

Oct 21, 2021

Like many young boys, Luc loved sports. He loved playing soccer and baseball and like every good Canadian boy, Luc loved hockey. His mom, Lianne, says that she thinks what he really loved was being part of a team. He didn't enjoy having the spotlight himself, but he loved being a part of a team in which everyone had fun and shared the spotlight. 

When Luc was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 7, he really took it all in stride. He was always very upbeat and positive, just accepting that if he did what the doctors told him, he would be fine. Other kids at school called Luc a 'hero' after his diagnosis, but Luc never wanted to be a hero. He just wanted to be a regular kid, a quiet part of the team.

Unfortunately, that isn't what happened. Luc was special, but not in the way he would want to be. Luc was one of a few kids to get leukemia in Manitoba that year, then one of the few children to get a more aggressive type of cancer requiring additional treatment. He eventually became one of the few to have a recurrence and then, finally one of the far fewer children who die of cancer each year. It was like he kept winning the lottery no one would ever want to win. 

Luc's mother, Lianne, is only 8 short months into her grief journey so it is so fresh and raw, but she still amazingly finds bits of gratitude in her life. She wants to continue to honor Luc by remembering his fun-loving, team oriented perspective. She recently participated in a fundraiser and was able to raise $20,000 for Cancer Care Manitoba. She called her little team 'Living for Luc,' and they had a great time having fun, playing different sports, laughing and truly experiencing life.

Lianne said to me, "There is life after loss and it is different and it is hard, and it is not always trampolines and laughing, but sometimes it can be, and that's OK." This may be one of the wisest statements about child loss I have ever heard. Such a powerful statement and so true - something we should all remember. Even in grief, we still live and we still need to do crazy, fun things like jump on a trampoline every once in a while.