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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 21, 2021

To say that losing a child is hard at any time would be a vast understatement, but losing a child while in the midst of a global pandemic adds a whole new level of complication. There are no friends and family surrounding you at a big funeral bringing you piles of food so you don't have to cook for weeks, or, in general, just being there for you with a big hug. This is what today's guest, Rhonda, has had to endure since her son, Robbie, died after having a seizure this past August.

In addition, Robbie had Asperger's Syndrome and OCD so he was challenged socially and had few friends. He struggled throughout his life to get through school, keep a job and make friends, but he was resilient and persevered, hoping that one day, he would make enough money to move to the beach. Rhonda said that she worried about him every single day, hoping that he would be able to keep his job and not have any anger outbursts with co-workers. She would text each morning to make sure he was OK, and then she would be able to go on with her day.

Since Robbie's death, Rhonda's life has been turned upside down. From the outside, friends have even indicated to her that her life will be less complicated now that 'she doesn't have to worry about' Robbie, but they don't understand at all. No matter how complicated your child's life is, it is not better without them in the world. She would rather worry about Robbie every day for the rest of her life than grieve his death each day. Someone who has never lost a child might not understand, but all of us who have, surely do.

Understandably, over the past 5 months, Rhonda has felt alone in her grief. That has caused her to turn to something she had never really thought about before - poetry. In her isolation, she finds that writing poetry is a way for her to express herself and her feelings. She also searches the internet for poems about grief and has compiled them into a book that she can read and re-read during her darkest times. These words, along with certain verses from the Bible give her comfort when everything seems lost.