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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.

Dec 5, 2019

On today's episode of Losing a Chid: Always Andy's Mom, I talk with Alexander's Mom, Nancy. She is one amazing lady with an amazing sense of humor. I have to apologize right away for the length of the episode. I usually try to keep episodes just under an hour, but this one goes fifteen minutes past my normal limit! As much as I tried to edit it down further, I just couldn't do it. Believe it of not, I already took off 20 minutes of awesome conversation, hoping that Nancy will forgive me.

By far, I laugh more in this episode than I have in any other episode so far. As Nancy said, 'sometimes if you don't laugh, you just want to cry.' She chose to laugh and shared so many of those stories. Her son, Alexander, at 8 months old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a more common type of childhood cancer. Although his prognosis was relatively good, he died at the age of 21 months. She spends quite a bit of time talking about this journey so parents of children living with cancer or other chronic illness will also find this episode helpful.

Although Alexander was her firstborn, she went to to have two other children, two daughters. The second daughter has Down Syndrome and required surgery shortly after birth. I'm sure many listeners will wonder how a woman who had to experience so many difficulties in her life could keep her amazing sense of humor, but she certainly has done just that.

Since Alexander's death, she has also worked to do little things for parents of kids who are in the hospital. She didn't make a big foundation and spend lots of money. She did little things that really any of us could do. She started buying small $5 gift cards to places like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. She only buys cards for things that they won't really need, just special little presents that they might not otherwise buy for themselves. She says that kids get to pick a prize from a treasure chest after procedures and during hospitalizations, but parents never do. Honestly, she has inspired me to do the same for my own children's hospital.

I hope you will enjoy the episode as you listen even if it is a bit longer. I guarantee this time you will laugh more than you cry.