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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.

Apr 18, 2024

I have a confession to make. This is a hard week for me. In three days, we will have to 'celebrate' Andy's 20th birthday. I have been thinking all week about what a 20-year-old Andy would be like. Would he have decided on a career path? Would he be dating a special girl? Would he still show some of his inner silliness? I'm sure that instead of me kissing the top of his head, he would be tall enough to kiss the top of mine. I'd like to think we would be headed out to visit him at college this weekend to make his birthday special.

Of course, I will never know the answers to any of these questions, and I feel that deep, excruciating pain once again. I walked upstairs tonight and tried to imagine for a second that I could go back in time and live my old life with my complete family for just one night. I have cried multiple times every day this week. Very few people at work or in my social circle have any idea that I am struggling. As I facilitated my support groups this week, there were moments when I could not even speak. I had trouble driving in traffic yesterday fearing another accident. All in all, I would describe myself as being a 'hot mess'.

This is why this week's guest, Ann, is like a breath of fresh air for me. Each week, before I release a new podcast, I listen to the episode from beginning to end. Ann was the perfect person to listen to this week. She has a caring spirit that flows out of her. She is open to talking about her struggles after losing her amazing son, Josh, but even in her struggles, she is an encouragement to me. After losing Josh, Ann turned to writing to help her in her grief. Her initial posts were written just for her, but more recently, Ann has posted her writings on her blog, The more she writes, the more others reach out to tell her how much she is helping them in their grief.

By listening to Ann tonight, she reminds me that I am loved by God and many others around me. She shows me I do not have to hide or be ashamed of my feelings. I may still be a 'hot mess', but that is OK. Even when broken, we can all offer love and support to each other.