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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.

Jun 22, 2023

After the death of a child, grieving parents continue to function. We get up out of bed (most days). We usually shower. We eat at least something. Some of us even try to work. How do we do it? We cope and each person has different coping strategies that we rely on to use during these dark times.
I remember so many people saying to me after Andy died, "You are so strong. I would never be able to do what you are doing." Honestly, those comments really just made me mad. I didn't know how to 'do' anything. There isn't a choice. If those people were in my shoes, they would be functioning as well. They may do better and they may do worse, but they would function in some way because there is no other option.
Having said that, there are healthy ways to cope and maladaptive ways to cope after the loss of a child, and that's what we dove into this week. Special guest Jami opens up to us about the unhealthy way that she relied on alcohol during the first year after losing her son, Judson, and, how over this past year, she has learned to make healthier decisions for herself in her grief.
My absolute favorite part of today's podcast is when Jami went over her three keys for early grievers. They are listed below:
1.) Grace - Be gentle with yourself. Know that tomorrow is a new day. Don't beat yourself up about making a poor decision today. You are doing the best that you can!
2.) Community - Find a group of people who will support you unconditionally. Oftentimes, this is a community of other grievers and not your family or current friends.
3.) Movement - This does not mean that you need to run for miles or do an hour of yoga. Even two minutes of deep breathing and stretching can get your body moving and help with your grief.
These keys can help soften the edges and make this grief journey just a tiny bit easier.