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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.

Jan 7, 2021

On the home page of Salt Water's website,, there is a quote from Isak Dinesen which reads, 'The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.' It goes on to explain these each in more detail. Sweat represents 'the healing of your body after the death of a beloved.' Tears represent 'living with unbearable loss.' Lastly, the sea represents 'moving forward into the life you create in the wake of loss.'

Salt Water's founder, Margo, lost her 21 year old son, Jimmy, to cancer in 2014. Like all of us, she found herself struggling to continue on through the grief. She turned to the internet to try to find support for herself and her family. She tried many different things, but found that nothing really 'fit' for her. Some felt too religious and others lacked any hope or spirituality at all.

Within a year of Jimmy's death, Margo suffered another great loss when her 92 year old mother died. That is when she really learned what a hierarchy people place on grief. Since her mother lived a long life, people just didn't offer as much sympathy for her in this fresh grief. They didn't really individualize the loss at all and didn't take into account all that Margo had been going through. 

This is when Margo had a true revelation. You cannot put another person's experience with grief into a box and treat it the same as others in 'their' category. You cannot judge your own grief as worse or better than someone else's. The loss of a sibling should not be considered 'worse' than the loss of a grandparent or 'better' than the loss of a child. They are absolutely unique to each individual. In addition, not all people who lose children are the same. Not all widows or widowers are the same. Not all people who lose their parents, siblings or even dear pets are the same.

It was then that Margo decided to create an online organization, Salt Water (, so all people suffering loss had a safe place to come and not feel judged. In Salt Water, all grieving people have a home. She and her contributors offer hope and help to every mourner who enters the waters of their harbor.