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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.

Dec 22, 2022

When Gwen and I were deciding what to name this week’s episode, Gwen’s title was ’Taking a Pause Before the Claus comes to Town: Last minute tips to survive the holiday.’ I chuckled at the title’s length and changed it to ’Last Minute Christmas Tips.’ It turned out, however, Gwen was right, maybe not about the length of the title, but about needing to put the word ‘pause’ into the title.
This turns out to be key for more than one reason. First of all, we do need to pause before heading out to family gatherings this holiday season. We talk and plan and figure out what we can and can’t do. We make backup plans and even escape plans to implement if things get too overwhelming, but an equally important piece that can be easy to overlook is to take a minute to pause. Before rushing out of the house, take some time for yourself. Take some deep breaths. Just be present in the moment. Take a break from the busyness. Pause.
That brings me to the second reason that putting the word ‘pause’ in the title this week is perfect. When I hear Gwen talk about taking a minute to pause, the words that jump into my mind are ‘be still.’ Whenever Andy was feeling anxious about anything in life big or small, I would remind him to breathe and ‘be still.’ His Bible verse that he truly clung to was Psalm 46:10 - Be still and know that I am God. Reciting those words during anxious moments would put his mind in a better place.
This week at the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys annual Lessons and Carols concert, a song written by guest conductor, Richard Webster, in memory of Andy, debuted. The title was ‘Be Still and Know that I am God.’ It was the most painful and beautiful and meaningful song I have ever heard in my life. A gorgeous piece of music was written to honor my boy that reminds choirs all over the world to take a minute to pause and to be still. So today, in the midst of the holiday bustle, I say to all of you the words that I said to Andy so many times, “Be Still.”
*Listen to the end to hear the song. Go to to see a video of the song. Go to the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys Webpage to hear the full concert (