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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 14, 2021

Michelle's daughter, Rachel, was just 17 years old when she died unexpectedly in a tragic accident. Packed in those 17 years, however, was a lifetime of profound wisdom. From a young age, various people who were exposed to Rachel called her an 'old soul' - she looked at the world differently than other children, in a deeper, more thoughtful way. In third grade, inspired by a teacher, she began to write down some of her thoughts in journals.

In the days and weeks after Rachel's tragic death, Michelle began to find pieces of Rachel's inspirational writings all over her room - on her computer, notebooks, even on small slips of paper tucked away in the deep recesses of her closet. Michelle was amazed by what she read. She had always known that Rachel was a talented writer, but these writings were so powerful and inspirational. One quote read, 'I can't tell you what happiness is, it's different for everyone, but I can tell you where to find it, within yourself.'

Michelle took a break from her career as a therapist and focused on Rachel and her writings. She wanted to share them with the world. Rachel's writing inspired her as well as many others. Some of her quotes quickly became 'viral' after being shared on a local TV station. Michelle compiled some of her writing into one book and later a second. She founded a non-profit organization, Rachel's Writers to help inspire other young writers. Sharing these writings helps keep a little bit of Rachel alive for her mom, her family and all of us.