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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 29, 2022

It has been less than 5 months since Brittany’s sweet 12-year-old daughter, Madyson, died unexpectedly from myocarditis, but Brittany has already become an inspiration to other bereaved moms. In the days and weeks after Madyson’s death, Brittany felt devastated and alone. She stayed in bed all day. She struggled to even be able to eat. She asked God why He hadn’t taken her with her daughter. Brittany said that her faith wavered. One day, in the midst of her despair, she asked God to give her a sign.

Brittany walked into her daughter’s room and pulled out Madyson’s notebook. Brittany thought she had read everything in that notebook just days before, but as she leafed through the notebook, she turned to a paper that Madyson had written 9 months before that looked unfamiliar. The writing is as follows:

’Why to Love Yourself’ 

The reason you should love yourself is because God didn’t put you on this earth without a purpose and to find that purpose, you gotta get up. You gotta get out the house and on your feet. God didn’t bless you to stay in bed and worry about your fears. So get up! Get up! Treat yourself. Go out. Be free because I promise you, today may be your weakness, but tomorrow going to be your power.

Reading those words from Madyson changed something for Brittany. Yes, she still struggles in her deep grief, but reading her daughter’s words to ‘Get Up!’ challenged Brittany to do just that. Now some days, getting up out of the bed may be all that she can do, but even that is enough to celebrate. On other days, Brittany will write a post on social media that inspires someone else to get up out of bed as well. That is an amazing win. 

Even as we struggle and feel completely broken, we can still in our own little way help one another. Those words from Madyson can help us all in our grief. We do have a purpose. Even in our grief, we have a purpose, but in order to find that purpose, we need to get up. Brittany keeps Madyson’s words in a frame so she can read them every day. Perhaps, we all should do that as well.