Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

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.

Jul 14, 2022

‘Everything happens for a reason, life goes on.’ Please know that bereaved parents have not lost their ability to think or to be logical. We know life goes on; we just don’t know how. Yes, everything does happen for a reason; we struggle with the why’s. Our child’s life as we once knew it, does not go on. Our child’s body has stopped functioning. In lots of ways, so did ours. - Sherita Thomas, ‘What Did You Say?’

Like many other bereaved parents, today’s guest, Sherita, has heard many well-meaning statements from people after the death of her 4 1/2 year old son, William. Oftentimes, instead of bringing comfort, these words actually caused increased pain. Unlike other bereaved parents, Sherita took the time to write down many of these statements that others said to her, and ponder what these friends could have said instead. She found a way to express their intent in a kinder way and she wrote them down, often typing on her computer through tear-filled eyes. Years passed and she continued to have thoughts of putting everything together in a book format to help others know what to say to newly bereaved parents.

Then, 23 years after the loss of William, his older brother, Emire, died for unknown reasons. The well-meaning phrases started up again, and Sherita realized that such a book was truly needed. She understood how overwhelming the grief of child loss truly was. She felt called to finish that book despite her deep pain after losing the two youngest of her five children. A few years later, her book, ‘What Did You Say?’ was published. She finally was able to share all of her wisdom gathered over more that a quarter of a century. (Click here to purchase on Amazon.)

Sherita hoped that it would help many people. She hoped that newly bereaved parents whose friends and family had read the book would not have to hear the ‘crazy’ things that she had heard. Never in her wildest dreams, however, did Sherita think that she would be one of the people her book helped. Unbelievably, last December, just months after her book was finally published, Sherita lost a third son, Elon, when he was shot and killed. All of the pain was fresh and raw again. Losing Elon brought back the pain of losing Emir and William as well. Amazingly, however, she says that no one in her life has said anything crazy or hurtful this time around. They read Sherita’s words and learned how to better support her in her pain. Now, her hope is that others may gain this same knowledge through her book as well.