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Dealing With The Loss of a Child
My Story

Inspiring Hope, One Day at a Time

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.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

A Love for Music

My son, Andy, was extremely musically talented. Music really spoke to him. Once when he was 5 years old, we took him to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. I looked to him at one point of the concert and he had tears freely flowing down his face. I quickly asked him what was wrong. His reply, ‘The music, it’s just so sad.’ 

He played the piano for many years and played his French Horn, that he named Frenchie, for three. His greatest instrument though, was his own voice. He was a head chorister for the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys and sang with the choir for five years. This video is a clip of one of his final solos, fitting as he sings about ‘fitting ourselves for heaven.

Recent Blog


Returning From Leave

  Today marks the one year anniversary of the last day that I saw patients before I went on 'medical leave' for my grief. I continued to do administrative work on and off, but I stopped seeing children and families. It was just too painful. I returned to work...

My Job

Recently, I have been thinking about patients whom I cared for when they died. A few of those occurred here in Grand Rapids where I have been a general pediatrician, but the majority happened during my pediatric training at the University of Iowa. I don't believe that...



Last night marked the beginning of the 30th Season for the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys and the 6th season for the Larson family. Last year, every concert was filled with overwhlming emotion for me. I would cry throughout the entire concert, occasionally even...

Recent Podcast


Episode 13: Camilo’s Dad

On today's episode of Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom, I talk to Camilo's dad, Doug Van Doren. Since recording the first episode with my husband Eric, I have only spoken with women, so it was nice to get another dad's perspective. We discuss the societal differences...

Episode 12: Gwen – Surviving the Holidays

On today's episode, Gwen and I discuss the struggles of getting through the holidays with a heart that is grieving and broken. Grieving is hard work with days that are good and other days that are terrible. Triggers come. Sometimes the triggers are out of the blue and...

Episode 11: Nathan’s Mom

On today's episode, I talk with Michele Shedd, Nathan's mom. Michele knew from her 20 week ultrasound that her infant son had a condition that would not allow him to live more than a few hours at most. Despite this fact, she and her husband made the difficult decision...