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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 13, 2022

For a minute, I want you to picture that we are traveling along our grief journey on a large tricycle with three equal-sized wheels. These three wheels represent our emotional self, our physical self, and our spiritual self. During grief, some people make the mistake of focusing on only one of the wheels when all are equally important. 

Non-grieving Christians often put pressure on the grieving person to put all of their air in the spiritual wheel. They encourage us to pray more. They remind us that everything is part of God’s plan and that God is in control of everything. They tell us that they are praying for us constantly. We, as grievers, may feel guilty if these phrases don’t give us peace. We may start to feel like we are grieving in the wrong way. We feel that we’d better keep putting more and more air into that spiritual tire. We may even think that if we get enough air in that one, we won’t even need the other tires at all.

Unfortunately, most of us can’t ride a unicycle. You may find that rare person who seems to only need one wheel and will be able to ride around on that spiritual unicycle with ease, but most of us need the whole tricycle with all three wheels equally filled. Today’s episode is a reminder that although faith and spirituality are key parts of our healing process, they are not everything, and it is not helpful when we pressure ourselves to think that they are.

In addition to that, my faith journey does not need to be smooth and steady. Oftentimes, it is really quite messy. When I envision God holding my hand as I am grieving, I usually think of myself as a weak and sad young child, looking up to my loving Parent to give me strength and support. Sometimes, though, I am not so easily led down the road. Sometimes, I am a screaming, whining toddler, and although I may be angry and pulling away, God, like any good parent, still doesn’t let go of my hand.