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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 17, 2021

For today's guest, Demetra, life changed the day her daughter was diagnosed with a rare condition called HHT (Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia) at 7 years of age. Although many people live a long, happy life with this condition, Eleni's disease affected her lungs making running, playing and growing like a 'normal' child impossible. What Eleni lacked in physical ability, however, she made up for in spirit a hundred times over.

When Demetra is asked to describe her daughter, Eleni, she says that Eleni was her 'mini-me.' They truly understood each other. Eleni was smart, funny, and sarcastic. She was beautiful, both inside and out. If Eleni truly was like her mother, Demetra, I can confirm that all of those things are true. Demetra is a woman not yet 8 months out from the death of her precious daughter, but her wonderful soul shines through in every word that she speaks.

Eleni was a girl who witnessed beauty in absolutely everything. She saw beauty in butterflies, flowers and baby kittens as many 11 year olds might, but Eleni could also see beauty in a small pile of dirt, sifting it again and again to make 'the most beautiful pile of dirt ever.' That is what Demetra takes with her now - the appreciation that beauty can be seen anywhere. You just have to slow down enough to appreciate it.