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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 4, 2021

I felt an instant connection to today's guest, Maureen. The most obvious reason for this is that our sons share a name, Andy, and that they were both killed suddenly in tragic car accidents. Another similarity is due to the fact that this was not the first death loss for either of us. For me, my previous experience with profound grief was when my mother died in 1994 when I was in college. For Maureen, her loss was only 3 months prior to her son's death, when her granddaughter, Charleigh, Andy's daughter, died in her sleep at 7 months of age.

One of the worst things about Charleigh's death certainly was watching her son Andy grieve as her dad. After Andy died, and Maureen felt that excruciating loss of her own child, she wondered how Andy was able to deal with his own grief as a young dad. She says that she felt like she couldn't really handle the grief at 53; she wonders now how Andy did it at 23. 

Andy has now been gone for over a year. The hole in their family's life is enormous, but Maureen said that relatively early on, she made the decision that despite these two life-changing losses, grief will not define her. The losses are a part of her story surely, but they are not her entire story. She will continue to live each day not only for her other two children, but for herself as well. She will live each day, and she will experience laughter and joy again.