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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.

Nov 14, 2019

On today's episode, Gwen and I discuss the struggles of getting through the holidays with a heart that is grieving and broken. Grieving is hard work with days that are good and other days that are terrible. Triggers come. Sometimes the triggers are out of the blue and sometimes they are expected. Family gatherings and holiday traditions are so difficult after the death of a loved one in your family.

I know that last year after Andy died, I felt completely lost. I really had no idea what to do. I kept hearing from others that there was no right or wrong way to deal with the holiday season and that I could do whatever I wanted to do. The problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to do. I actually longed for a little bit of guidance from others who had walked this road before me. I did not know if would want to do exactly what they had done, but at least I would get some options and ideas.

This is what Gwen and I try to do here. We discuss what I did last year, what I may or may not do this year, and many things that others have done in the past. Gwen talks about the importance of having a plan and making decisions, but also giving yourself the flexibility to change those plans in any given moment.

People were right when they said that there is no right or wrong way to handle the holidays. Just as people grieve differently, they handle these hard days differently. When everything seems so overwhelming, we can start to prioritize and divide things into categories: what we feel like we need to do, what we might need help doing, and what we absolutely do not want to do. Hopefully, this gives people a place to start.

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