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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.

Jan 11, 2024

As parents, it is natural to want to know what our kids are experiencing. That is probably why at the beginning of every new school year, schools will have an open house where the parents can go to their child's classrooms, meet the teachers, and see where their child will be spending each day. I know the open house is an event that I look forward to each year and have never missed.

That is one of the many horrible things about Andy dying. I no longer 'know' where Andy is. In my heart, I know he is in heaven, but what is heaven really like? Can he see us? Does he want to see us? Is time the same or different? I have to admit that I truly do not know. I was not given a chance to visit like I could visit his school classroom in years past or even like I could visit my daughter's college dorm. Sometimes, though, I allow myself to imagine what it might be like, and in today's interview with Tootie, we imagined together just what our boys might be doing.

To take a step back, Tootie's son, Kole, was an amazing kid growing up, never really giving her any trouble. As an only child of divorced parents, he adjusted well and truly lived life to the fullest each day. Tootie says that Kole never met a stranger and was always ready for the next event or celebration. Everyone just loved Kole and gravitated to his positive outlook on life. It was crushing to Tootie and so many others, when 21-year-old Kole was suddenly killed in a car accident.

As we talked, I told Tootie, that I could imagine Andy running through heaven shouting, 'Kole, Kole, Kole, Kole! Come quick! I'm so excited! My mom is going to talk to your mama! It's going to be great! Come, let's listen together!' Tootie said, that in typical Kole fashion, he would be eager to come along with this younger teen and not miss out on the excitement. We could both imagine their big grins smiling down as they watched us share.

Admittedly, I really don't know if heaven is like that or not, but it sure is amazing to imagine that it might be. Even more, it warms my grieving heart to think of Andy running through heaven each week, excitedly bringing others like Kole to listen.