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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.

Dec 21, 2023

For those unfamiliar with the popular Christian poem, 'Footprints,' it relates the story of a person who is at the end of life. They are looking back through their entire life's journey as a walk along a beach. Most of the time, there are two sets of footprints in the sand. The first are their footprints and the second represents the footprints of God. This person notices that when they are going through their deepest struggles there is only one set of footprints. The person questions God, 'Why when I needed you most, would you leave me?' God then answers, 'My precious, precious child. I love you and would never leave you. During those times of trial and suffering, it was then that I carried you.'

Today's guest, Lavinia, started dating Manny's dad when she was 17 and he was 20. The first gift that he gave her was a plaque of the 'Footprints' poem. At the time, it may have seemed like an odd gift, but honestly, it was perfect. In their marriage, they had many times when there was only 'one set of footprints' and God carried them. At the age of 3, young Manny was diagnosed with leukemia. His treatment was filled with complication after complication. Even after he was cancer-free, Manny suffered cognitive struggles from the treatments. Right around the time of his 15th birthday, the family was dealt another blow when Manny was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Lavinia learned then that Manny, too, had a relationship with God that allowed him to be carried through his struggles. In October 2020, Manny said in a very matter-of-fact manner, "Mom, I asked God for more time." What strikes me here is that Manny did not beg God to cure him. He did not bargain with God to make some deal. It is almost like as Manny was being carried by God, he leaned in and whispered, 'Hey, can I have a little more time?' Manny almost seemed a bit excited when he shared that with his mom because he already knew God's answer. God gave him 4 more months, enough for one last Christmas with his family - just a little more time. Even now, as Lavinia lives in her pain after Manny's death, it comforts her to know that Manny had that kind of relationship with God and that she too, can be carried by the same arms that carried Manny.