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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 17, 2022

Our kids should be here. It is simply wrong that they are gone before us. It just is. Nothing that we do or say can make sense of the senseless tragedy of the deaths of our children.
When Stef’s 16-year-old son, Alex, died suddenly by suicide, her world was shattered. Their community was in shock. They were ‘The Kummer Family’ - the family who had everything together. They were a family that inspired jealousy in others. Alex was a brilliant, straight-A student who made everyone around him feel special and valued. The Kummers went to church regularly and did family outings together. Certainly, suicide couldn’t enter this family - other families, sure, but not this family. 
But just over a year ago now, the unthinkable did happen. Suicide did enter the Kummer Family and stole away Stef’s son, Alex. He got in trouble for something that, although relatively minor, became big in his mind. At that moment, his adolescent brain decided that his family would be better off without him. Alex, the kid who never hurt anyone and was the best friend of everyone, took his own life, devastating all who care for him.
Now Stef’s mission in life is to spread the word that no family is immune to suicide. She talks at churches and to other groups sharing Alex’s story. She ends each email that she writes with the phrase, ‘the world is better with you in it.’ Stef wants all parents to openly talk with their children about what to do when suicidal thoughts come, encouraging improved communication among families. Hopefully, by starting these conversations at home, fewer families will have to suffer through the tragedy of losing a child.