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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.

Jun 10, 2021

After her 16 year old son, Christian was killed in a car accident three years ago, Valerie was understandably devastated. She, like so many of us, felt completely crushed. She longed to find people and a place to give her hope. Shortly after the accident, she found a grief support group at a local church and decided to attend. Unfortunately, though, she did not find hope in that place - she found elderly mothers grieving decades after losing their children. They seemed 'stuck' in their grief.

Although she in no way judged the women at the group, in that parking lot after the group finished, she made a promise to herself, her husband, and her living son. Valerie would not let herself become 'stuck' in her grief. No matter how much work it took and how tough it was, she vowed that she would feel all of the emotions of grief and learn to love life again.

Three years later, that is exactly what she has done. She has worked hard each and every day on her grief journey. She has spoken to groups about wearing seatbelts in the car and about the dangers of drowsy driving. She continues to have relationships with Christian's teenage friends, even, as difficult as it was, watching them graduate last year. She works to be a caring mother to her living son and wife to her husband. She does all of this while continuing to talk about Christian and keep his memory alive to all who want to listen. 

Valerie still struggles, certainly, as all grieving mothers do, but she makes the effort to make a little progress each and every day. She is truly an inspiration.