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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 23, 2023

Thinking back to the first hour after Andy died, I remember being in the emergency room and having such tremendous chest pain that I thought I must be having a heart attack. The ER staff actually put me through the CT scanner and obtained an EKG, but there was nothing physically wrong. Emotionally, however, everything was wrong. Andy was dead, and my whole world felt like it had been destroyed. All the turmoil in my mind manifested itself into physical pain.

What might seem crazy to some people is in the days and weeks following Andy’s death, I almost wanted to feel physical pain. For most of my life, I have suffered with having migraine headaches. I have tried many treatments over the years to help prevent them. After Andy died, however, I actually wanted to have a migraine. I wanted my physical pain to match my emotional pain.

In today’s episode with Gwen, we discuss how interconnected the body and mind can be. It is easy to fall into the trap that I was in and not want to take care of our physical bodies, but when we work on helping our physical bodies, our mental health often improves as well. I know that recently I have faced emotional struggles and going on a walk helps a lot more than curling up in bed.

Erin (from Episode 134: Dakota’s Mom) comes on today to talk about yoga and its impact on her healing. From Erin’s website, ‘Yoga came into my life when I was so stressed out and carrying an injury and has aided in the transformation to the person I am now happy to be.  I no longer just live in a black-and-white world. Colour has returned and I am able to live, love and celebrate.’

I have personally done several yoga sessions with Erin and always find them healing. Now, Erin is putting together an amazing retreat that will take place in Mexico at the end of October. In the retreat, bereaved moms will be able to be together and work on things like yoga, breath work, and healthy eating as well as have time to connect and even have some fun. I’m sure it will be life-changing for all.