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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.

Oct 6, 2022

When today’s guest, Jane, reminded me of the great children’s story, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen, it made me smile. It is a wonderful book that has been made into a nursery rhyme that I loved to do with my kids. If you remember the rhyme, it starts with clapping and giving a call and response, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt. Going to catch a big one. I’m not scared.’ Then as the story progresses, we come across different obstacles on our bear hunt. With each obstacle, we talk about trying to go around it or over it, but ultimately, we always have to go through it. Grief is exactly like that. Even though I would love to be able to go around it or over it, we must go through it.

When Jane and her husband, Jimmy, met in film school, they never would have imagined what films they would be making years later. In fact, Jane likely did not think that she would be making films at all as she went on to become a therapist. But then the unimaginable happened when their son Josh was killed in an accident while traveling in Vietnam. As a part of their own personal healing journey, they made their first film together, a film borne out of love for Josh.  

Jane and Jimmy likely thought originally that they would only make that one film, but something almost magical happened. They witnessed first-hand the power of storytelling and what it can do for grieving people. They now have a charity in the UK called The Good Grief Project. Through the charity, they have continued to make films as well as host support groups for bereaved people.

Two of their newest projects are simply amazing. Their latest film entitled, ‘A Love That Never Dies’ chronicles their journey across the United States speaking to bereaved parents and sharing their stories. This film is available to watch on Amazon both in the UK and in the US. It is a film not about death, but about love and healing. In addition to the film, Jane and Jimmy are releasing a book, ‘When Words Are Not Enough’ which can be ordered through their website or also through their book publisher.

When I think back once again to that ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ nursery rhyme, I realize how much we can apply that to our grief journeys. Going on a bear hunt by myself would be terrifying, but in the nursery rhyme, we say, “I’m not scared.” What keeps us from being scared is the fact that we are going on that hunt together in community. We have films and books. We have podcasts. We have other bereaved parents. We can help each other go ‘through it’ together.