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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.

Sep 8, 2022

When Kellie sent an audition tape to be on Ellen DeGeneres’ Game of Games in 2018, she was a teacher, making the tape with her students hoping to be be selected to be on this fun game show. She had an abundance of creative energy. At the time, Kellie was passionately working on writing a fiction book dedicated to Matthew Shepard and the LGTBQ+ community. Time went by, however, and no call came about the audition tape. Kellie said that eventually she almost forgot about the tape. 

Over the years, Kellie’s adopted son, Chris, had many struggles with addiction. When the pandemic hit in 2020, he was desperately trying to put his life back together, but the isolation during the early days of COVID became too much for him. Kellie suspected that her son relapsed. The combination of the isolation of the pandemic and the overwhelming nature of addiction was too much for him. In the summer of 2020, Chris died by suicide.

In her overwhelming grief, Kellie found herself unable to even get off of the couch. She didn’t want to shower or care for herself. Her creative nature was completely gone. The book writing stopped. Then something unexpected happened. After 2 years, Game of Games invited her to be a contestant. Instinctively, she wanted turn them down, but Kellie knew in her heart that God and Chris were behind this - it was not random. Kellie was ‘supposed’ to be on that show.

During that trip to California, something truly amazing happened. Kellie could feel Chris beside her pushing her along, comforting her. The healing certainly did not end in California, but it did ever so quietly begin there. Forcing herself to get up and smile opened up her heart again. Her creativity blossomed again. She started writing that book again complete with a cameo appearance by Chris at the end.

Now, Kellie will be the first one to tell you that she is not healed, and that, in fact, she is far from it, but she is moving forward with Chris right beside her. She finished and published her book, Mount Hope, which is available here on Amazon. Kellie focuses on sharing love and compassion to as many people as she can reach and is now an inspiration to many.