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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.

Oct 3, 2019

In today's episode, I speak with Jack's mom, Anna Whiston-Donaldson. Jack died in 2011 at the age of 12 in a freak flash flood while playing at a neighbor's house. Anna had (and still has) a very popular blog post at the time entitled An Inch of Gray. After Jack's death, the family's whole world was turned up-side-down. As we all know, each family member had to find different ways to try to cope with their grief. For Anna, this meant continuing to write her blog. She said that 'her readers kept showing up so she kept writing.'

Her writings about her grief were raw and full of emotion which led to her being discovered by an agent and then a publisher who asked her to write a book. The resulting book, Rare Bird, is a painful, honest and real book about grief. Reading it helped normalize my personal feelings and those of many others. Anna now speaks all over the country to groups about parental grief. This has become her passion, as it has become mine. We both strive to help people who walk this path with us, and perhaps even more importantly, help those who will walk the path after us.

Today, we talk about our personal journeys as well as struggles that we have heard from others. We discuss the impact on surviving siblings as well and how sometimes, they can feel isolated and out of place. Anna's new book, A Hug from Heaven, is a book for grieving children. Being there for each other as a community of grievers is important; helping our surviving children not feel forgotten is vital. 


Ways to Connect With Anna

Learn more about Anna by visiting her website:

Follow her blog:

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @aninchofgray

Follow her on Instagram @annawhistondonaldson

Purchase her books by clicking below:

For Rare Bird:

For A Hug From Heaven (children's book):