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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.

Sep 28, 2023

No one wants to be a drug addict. No one would choose that for themselves. It is a really hard life. Each day is spent worrying about how you can get more drugs or get the money to get more drugs. After the addiction takes hold, it no longer feels like a choice to take the drug. It is a need. The most tragic piece is that as the addiction takes hold, the risk of death by overdose increases as well.

Today's guest, Christine, has a tragic story of two sons, Kurt and Austin. Kurt began using marijuana as a teen as a way to feel normal. Kurt told his mom that for the first time in his life by using marijuana, he felt comfortable in his own skin. Austin followed in big brother's footsteps and began using marijuana. While playing video games with a friend at the age of 17, Austin was offered a pill to crush and inhale. He did so, but was then 'forced' to do a second pill by the drug dealer who lived in the apartment. When Austin began showing signs of an overdose, the dealer threatened to kill anyone who dialed 911. By the next morning, it was too late.

This started a quest for Christine, a quest to prevent death by drug overdose. She has spent the last ten years working to decrease overdose deaths. She has been an advocate for overdose awareness and harm reduction for teens. Christine was also involved in getting the Good Samaritan Act revised in Canada to provide immunity to those who call 911 in an overdose situation. Since Austin's death, Kurt's battle with addiction became more and more severe.  He never got over his little brother's death and continued to blame himself. Kurt was a troubled soul who eventually died of an overdose himself last year. 

Now, Christine says she is just tired. She is tired of the fighting the battle against drug overdose. Both of her boys are now gone, and she is working to find a new purpose for her life. Maybe she will continue working to fight against substance abuse or maybe her life will go in a new direction, but whatever she chooses, I know that her ability to keep helping others will be an inspiration to me and so many others.