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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.

Jan 20, 2022

Today's guest, Karen, says that in today's society, we all suffer from a lack of 'loss intelligence'. We are taught so many things in our lives, both intellectually and emotionally. We are taught how to love others and even how to love ourselves. One thing that is often ignored, however, is how to handle loss in our lives. In her newest book, Demystifying Loss, Karen describes more than 40 types of loss that people experience.

In 2011, Karen was chief financial officer of a large publicly traded company in Australia when her life was turned completely upside down. Karen's 27-year-old son, Dan, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away at her back door. Karen talks about how in those first 15 months, she made many mistakes when trying to deal with grief and true loss for the first real time in her life, but ever so slowly, Karen began to learn and grow.

Karen says that at that point, she really took a 'deep dive' into herself to learn who she had become at her core. The loss of Dan changed her; other losses changed her as well. As devastating as these losses are, we can learn from them and even grow from them. We can work through the losses in our lives, see how they have changed us and allow them to make us the people who we are today. 

Karen's life looks nothing like it did ten years ago when she was in the corporate world. Despite the horrible pain of losing Dan, in many ways her life is actually better. She understands herself better and through her books and her organization, The Chaston Centre, she helps others 'deep dive' into themselves as well. In Karen's words from her website,, “Life is too short to be suffering from any kind of loss; unwrap the gift this has brought and then design a life that you live and love.”