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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 2, 2023

Today’s guest, Krysten’s oldest son, Ty, loved being in nature. Having recently graduated from high school in California, he had planned to go out to Colorado to enjoy the mountains and hike before enlisting in the Navy. Then the unthinkable happened. On September 2, 2019, Ty went on one of his frequent hiking trips with friends and died when he fell in a freak accident. 
Krysten and her family were shocked and devastated. Throughout the episode today, Krysten relates how now, 3 1/2 years later, she is struggling to find her purpose. Should she work to make trails safer? Should she train to become a grief counselor? Should she find some other grand purpose for her life moving forward? She reminds me so much of the moms I have talked to over the years. She places this pressure on herself to do more.
As I continued listening to Krysten, I began to see how little credit she is giving herself. She shared that on her birthday, she joined Facebook and on her very first post, decided to raise money for the search and rescue team that found Ty. Over 2 weeks, she raised $2500. Every year on the anniversary of Ty's death, she has ’TyFest’ where Ty’s friends gather to play soccer and reminisce about Ty. Every year it looks a little different, but she continues to honor and remember him. In addition, Krysten enjoys nature more herself and will go on hikes to places Ty would have enjoyed. On each special trip, Krysten sprinkles just a few of Ty’s ashes along the way.
To Krysten, all of these things might seem small and insignificant, but together they are already giving her purpose. They are all honoring her amazing son, Ty. Even sharing his life with others on the podcast helps to give her a little purpose as well. I hope that Krysten can help to show all of us that finding purpose doesn’t have to be big. It can be quiet, soft, and beautiful.