In this Episode of Always Andy’s Mom, I talk with Jolynn Van Wienen and hear the story of her son, Seth. Seth was killed in 2007 when he was 10 years old. He was struck by a car while he was running across the street following a soccer game.

Jolynn’s journey through her grief has been long and hard, but she again is able to feel true joy in her life. For Jolynn, it is her strong faith in God that has been able to get her through each day. She talks about the day of Seth’s death being the day that he was able to see the face of Jesus. This is certainly not the outlook that I or many other parents have right now, but listening to her can help us see that maybe, someday, we can and will.

Seth’s death led Jolynn and her husband, Greg, to try to find support services for their other children at home. They sent their children to a one day ‘grief camp’ where children could talk to other hurting kids. The camp was so helpful to the kids, but it was only for one day.

They began to look for an ongoing faith-based program and found that none existed in the Grand Rapids area. Over the next weeks and months, they felt called to found a program on their own. Starlight Ministries is a Christian organization, originally founded to help children who were grieving the death of a parent or sibling. Very quickly the ministry expanded to include adults as well. Today it is successful, growing and even expanding to a second location.

For more information on Starlight Ministries and their programming, please visit

For insights from Starlight’s amazing program director, listen to Gwen Kapcia on Episode 2 of Always Andy’s Mom