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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 28, 2023

When I saw that December 28th was a podcast release day, I immediately thought of my mom and of the 'Be Still' tattoo that I got last year in honor of Andy on the anniversary of my mom's death. I knew that I wanted to do a Livestream the week between Christmas and New Year's as I usually do, but I worried about the logistics as we were going to be traveling and would be in Florida at the condo of my in-laws.

This combination of circumstances got me thinking. What about doing an episode honoring my tattoo and our trip to Florida? Over the past 5 years, I have seen so many beautiful, meaningful tattoos on parents. What if I allowed listeners to tell the stories behind their tattoos and send in pictures? What about letting them talk about trips they have taken in memory of their children? What about adding a third 'T' to the podcast and bringing in 'toys' or items that we have to honor our children as well? For me, my 'Be Still' bracelets have become an important part of my grief journey by helping me spread hope and healing to others. What 'toys' have brought healing to others?

So that is exactly what we did in our Tattoos, Trips, and Toys Livestream. If you normally just listen to the podcast, you may want to change things up a bit and watch the video on the Always Andy's Mom pages on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube so you can see the pictures of tattoos. You can also look at recent posts on social media to see some amazing pictures and stories from listeners. 

The true takeaway from this episode, however, is not just about cool pictures. It is about the importance of taking care of yourself. It is hard to focus on self-care during grief, but it is key to healing. That does not mean that everyone needs to run out and get a tattoo, take a long trip, or buy a new truck, but if getting a tattoo brings you a bit of comfort in your grief, do it. If a walk along the beach gives you a moment of peace, take that walk. And if handing out bracelets makes me think of Andy and helps remind someone else to 'Be Still,' I will continue to do it as well.