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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.

Nov 3, 2022

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook know that I have been posting video clips of my interviews over the past several months. I usually pick out three or four short highlights that I think others might appreciate. This week was so difficult for me because I kept finding clip after clip that I wanted to share. On my initial listen, I come up with no fewer than seven clips that I somehow had to pare down to four. This should give all of you a little glimpse as to how much wisdom today’s guest, Tiersa, has to offer.

Tiersa lost her daughter, Savannah almost 5 years ago now under somewhat mysterious, some might even say suspicious, circumstances. Tragically, she will never really know how Savannah died as the investigation did not lead to concrete answers. You might think that this would have led Tiersa to be bitter, but nothing could be further from the truth. The compassion that she shows to others, despite her own pain, is truly inspiring to me. 

Tiersa talks about wanting to live her life in a loving way toward everyone around her. She has done training for preschool teachers for many years and remembers discussing the term ‘first responders’ with them. She would remind the teachers that these medical professionals are first responders and not first reactors. She would urge them to remember to respond to young children and not just react. 

This is the approach that Tiersa is trying to take both in her own grief and in helping her children grieve the death of their precious sister. When doing something so difficult like grieving as a family, It is easy to react instantly with your emotions. It is better, however, if you can take a minute to gather yourself, truly listen to those around you and respond in a loving way instead.