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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.

Mar 26, 2020

After a week off due to the COVID pandemic and the stresses surrounding it, I decided to restart the podcast. I tried stuffing my grief down deep into myself, feeling like it was not important enough to give any attention to during these trying times, but that is not a successful approach. Grief does not go away when you ignore it; in fact, for me, it builds up and makes me feel even worse. I imagine that it feels that way to others as well.

Given that fact, I felt that the first episode back should be focused on the world-wide pandemic and how it affects grievers. Interestingly, almost everyone in the world is grieving something right now, whether it is a person, job, vacation, a trip to get your hair cut or simply the ability to go to the store and buy toilet paper whenever you need it. To us as grievers, some of these 'losses' that others are grieving may seem trivial, but to others, they feel very acute.

I recorded this episode less than 48 hours ago. At that time, the US had 667 COVID deaths. Now that number is far over 1000. Worldwide, known coronavirus cases are almost 500,000, and the actual number is far greater. Things are changing by the hour and that can feel very scary to people, especially people not used to facing tragedy.

I have often shared that grievers are really forced to teach others about how to help us and how to deal with grief. This joint experience of surviving a pandemic is an opportunity to expand our teaching to others. When going through personal grief, I have better learned how to see things from the perspective of others. This was really first taught to me by attending grief support groups, but has expanded into so many other areas. I hope that through grievers, others may be able to learn to look at life through the perspective of others as well.