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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.

May 27, 2021

Dads are somewhat overlooked in the deaths of children in general, but this is especially true for stillborn deaths. Joseph's dad never got to meet his baby, Joseph, when he was alive. One day, when Lou's wife, Francine, was 30 weeks pregnant with their first child, he stopped moving. He had died and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Instead of getting time to mourn in those first hours, Lou felt that he needed to be the tough guy as well as the spokesperson for the couple. He still had a job to do, too - he still had to coach his wife through delivery as they had planned. He felt this pressure to be the strength for the couple. He also says that he was actually surprised that for a short period of time at least, he felt a sense of excitement at getting to meet and see his son for the first time.

He said that it was on the first day when he realized what a stigma having a stillbirth would cause. As a proud dad, he sent out a text announcing Joseph's birth and death and no one responded. Nothing. He realized that he and Francine were about to start a long, lonely journey. When people don't know what to say or what to do, they often do nothing at all. Lou wanted that to change. Parents who have experienced stillbirth should not have to feel the need to hide it in some way.

It was in those first days and weeks, that Lou started to have the dream of a charity focused on helping parents who have lost children. Lou and his wife started Walk In Sunshine Charity to help give financial support for burial and funeral expenses to families who have lost children from 20 weeks gestation to 18 years of age who live in Union County, New Jersey.

In addition, this website is a place for people all over the world to visit to find resources. They highlight books, other websites, podcasts such as this one, as well as anything a bereaved family may need during the worst moments of their lives. Lou loves to help people feel a little less alone during this dark time. He longs to help people feel a little bit of sunshine while they start their long walk.