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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 25, 2024

Tara's teen daughter, Taylor was the kind of friend who made others feel like they were the most special person in the room. When Taylor tragically died in 2010 in a skiing accident, Tara says that the easiest decision that the family had to make was when they were asked, 'Your daughter is a beautiful candidate for organ donation; would you consider it?'

They knew their loving, caring daughter would never hesitate to help others so they did not hesitate either. Tara wanted her daughter to be a gift to others. The family knew that by making this decision, they would be able to give total strangers the gift of time, the gift of memories, and the gift of experiences. That decision blessed five people in the coming days, and Taylor's family has had the privilege to meet 4 of the 5 recipients.

Tara and her husband quickly started Taylor's Gift, a foundation in their home state of Texas, that focused on helping increase numbers of people volunteering to be organ donors. They asked the question, 'How do you want to outlive yourself?' People often do not want to talk to their loved ones about organ donation. They feel it is taboo to talk about death and organ donation, They do not realize that organ donation isn't about death. It is about blessing others with the gift of life.

A second goal of the foundation is surrounding grief support. Donor families are in a very unique position. They most often lose their family member suddenly and are in extreme pain. At the same time, the families have a sense of gratefulness that they were able to help save the lives of others. These mixed emotions can be difficult to understand. Taylor's Gift offers certified one-on-one peer professional support as well as support groups with caring guides who have all suffered similar losses.

Over the last 14 years, Taylor has not only helped the lives of those original five recipients. Taylor's Gift has blessed hundreds upon hundreds by either starting the conversation of organ donation between family members or walking beside families after they have given the gift of donation. I know these blessings will continue to build.