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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 30, 2022

Experiencing the death of a close loved one changes people. I became a changed person after mom mom died of cancer when I was in college. I changed again probably even more dramatically after my son, Andy, was killed in our car accident. When today’s guest, Crystal, lost her sister to suicide 3 years ago, Crystal’s life was forever changed.

Crystal had a young family including a 3 year old daughter. She was just finishing up her final weeks of college to earn her degree. She had a plan for her life. And then, her world was turned upside down when Gina, whom everyone described as a full of life ‘Energizer Bunny,’ took her own life. Crystal had decisions to make. She finished those final college classes, but then decided to take some time for herself to heal. It was during this time of healing when she began to feel a prompting to help others. She kept seeing little signs pushing her to help other grieving families. She felt like Gina want her to do more.

It was then that she started her business that she named ‘Scattering Hope.’ Even in the name, she felt her sister’s influence. “That’t what we need to do, Crystal,” she could almost hear her sister saying, “We need to scatter hope.” That is Crystal’s new life’s mission. She helps families heal after losing loved ones to suicide. Grief and hope aren’t often words that go together, but in community, we can begin to heal and to experience hope once again.

Next month, Crystal is hosting her third suicide summit for survivors of suicide loss. The summit is virtual and will feature speakers from all over the country, speakers that will hopefully help help Crystal scatter even more hope. Both Gwen and I are featured speakers as well. The summit is completely free to attend. The goals really are three-fold. First of all, it gives grievers an opportunity to be in community with each other. Secondly, it gives grievers tools to help them along their grief journey. Finally, it gives grievers opportunities to share their own stories. If you or anyone you know has been affected by suicide loss, I hope you will take time to register at