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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.

Sep 24, 2020

The days after Andy's death were such a blur to me. Information came at me from all directions. In those days leading up to what should have been his first day of high school, we instead found ourselves in a funeral home, picking out a casket and a cemetery plot. I feel like much of the information that was shared with me I could not even absorb.

Our funeral director was truly amazing and such a blessing to us. He tried not to overwhelm us with too much at one time. He handed me paperwork, much of which I would not be able to read. One thing he did do, however, that I will forever be grateful for, is to pull out one particular pamphlet and tell me to call a specific woman. That pamphlet was for Starlight Ministries, and the woman's name was Gwen.

I still remember dialing that number for the first time. I was sitting upstairs on my bed by myself. My hand shook as I dialed the number. I wasn't even sure I'd be able to speak at all. What would I say to this stranger? Honestly, I have no idea what I did say in that first conversation, and I can't remember anything specific that she said. I do remember, however, that after I hung up, I felt a little bit better. I had a tiny glimmer of hope that I might be able to get through the next day. I had an appointment for Eric and I to go see her later that week.

That appointment I remember a little more clearly. I walked in holding Andy's teddy bear and telling Gwen about the bear and all about my sweet boy. I felt like Eric and I were truly heard and understood by her. Although we were still in complete shock and would be for a long time, I felt like I got a little bit of a plan that day as we signed up for our first support group. I left not feeling quite as lost and confused as I did when we came in.

I have felt so blessed to be in west Michigan, so close to Gwen and her expertise. When I decided to do the podcast, the very first call that I made was to Gwen. I wanted to make sure that she was involved and could be a regular contributor. Before today, very few people have gotten to experience the help that Gwen can offer like I did.

Today, all that changes. Today, Gwen launches something new, something that I think will be amazing to grieving families everywhere. Her new venture, called Your Grief Guide, can be found at On the website, Gwen offers a 5 part video series to help guide those who are on this horrible grief journey. There are additional resources available for those supporting the bereaved as well, such as church ministries, victims advocacy groups and even individual counselors. What a blessing this will be to the grieving community at large. I am so honored to be able to help introduce this new resource.