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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 24, 2020

For grieving people, Christmastime is undoubtedly, NOT 'the most wonderful time of the year' that is sung about in the classic song. I would say that for grieving parents, this is especially true. Christmas is such a time of joy for children and no matter if you lost your child on the day that you gave birth to him or her or decades later, the pain is still a little sharper on Christmas. Grieving parents are reminded both of Christmases past and also of the Christmases that will never be.

I started thinking about what to do for the show this Christmas a few months ago. I thought about just taking a couple of weeks off, but the more I considered that, the more that it felt wrong. I know that people look forward to listening to these stories every week. I know that it gives many people hope for the upcoming week. I eventually decided that instead of skipping an episode or two, I'd do something extra special.

When I talk to parents each week, I am so often blown away by little stories of 'signs' that they received after the deaths of their children. Now, we definitely don't always interpret these signs the same way. I tend to think of them as messages I get from God letting me know that Andy is OK. Other parents think of them as signs directly from their children. Overall, I don't think that part matters as much as the overall comfort that they give us as parents.

Over the last few weeks, I have asked for people to send in stories of their 'messages from heaven,' and I have, quite simply, been blown away. I was hoping to get a few little stories to make Christmas feel 'not quite as awful.' Instead, I have been given true stories of hope that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. Many of these stories actually made me smile. I don't think that I will look at a green Matchbox car, a cardinal, a butterfly or the color orange ever the same way again. My hope is that these stories will bring smiles to your faces as well.