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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.

Feb 9, 2023

When I first heard from a listener about today’s guest, Patti, the email included an attachment which was a copy of the obituary that Patti wrote for her late son, Nick after he took his life almost three years ago. To say that it was powerful would be a vast understatement. It was beyond powerful. In fact, I feel like it is something that each and every parent should read. Her words about Nick’s battle with addiction can help everyone understand that no family is immune to this disease. 
Patty writes: 'Nick was robbed of his future by the disease of addiction. No one plans to be an addict. It is a disease, not a choice, and it has reached epidemic proportions. Nick started using drugs to make himself feel normal, to feel accepted, to feel worthy, because this is what the drug told him at first. What it didn’t tell him is how it would devastate his family, take his education, take his jobs, take his future, take and take until it took his life. Addiction will take hold and destroy anyone in its path including families and loved ones of those afflicted. We all know someone who is affected by this epidemic. It isn’t a character flaw, IT’S A DISEASE.'
Patty’s deep love for her son shines through in her words. She reads the entire obituary in the episode, and it is truly a love story for her son. Since Nick’s death, Patti has worked to end the stigma of addiction. As Nick went through his 13-year battle with addiction, he felt shame. He didn’t want people to know. That’s not what Patti saw in Nick - Patti saw a brave young man fighting for his life every single day because that’s exactly who Nick was, a brave fighter.
Patty ends Nick’s obituary in this way: 'In memory of our beautiful son, please help those that do not understand, come to the realization that addiction is a disease and NOT a choice. I believe more people will reach out for help early on rather than trying to hide their disease from family and friends. Please help End the Stigma.'