When I sat down to plan my summer podcast schedule, July 2nd stood out to me right away. July 2, 2017 was the day that Stephanie’s daughter Keyan died. Although I never met Keyan in life, in my mind, July 2nd is Keyan’s day and it just did not feel ‘right’ to talk about anyone else on that day. I reached out to Keyan’s mom, Stephanie, and she agreed to come on the show a second time.

I met Keyan’s mom, Stephanie, 3 weeks after my son, Andy, died. I remember hearing her story when I first met her. My heart broke for her. Keyan, one of her 4 quadruplet girls, had multiple medical problems since birth. Her life was filled with medical visits and specialists, but she was surrounded by this amazing family. Her parents, older brother and three sisters all adored her. She lived a full life and was really at the center of this wonderful family. Eventually, though, at the age of 12, her body simply gave out and this family had to watch her die. I remember my husband and I talking about them that night, feeling almost ‘lucky’ that we had lost Andy suddenly and that we did not have to watch him experience pain.

Although Keyan’s death was far different from Andy’s, over the next months, I found myself constantly looking to her for guidance. On that first day when we went to the grief support group, Stephanie had already passed the one year mark. In those days, I could barely think of what the next month would look like. A full year seemed like an eternity. 

When I started my podcast last September, Stephanie was the first other parent whom I chose to interview. Her episode remains one of my most popular ones even today. (If you have not listened to that episode, you may want to consider doing so now.) For almost two years now, Stephanie has been my ‘guide’ as to what to expect in the future. No matter where I am in the grief journey, I know that Stephanie has been through it. It became even more apparent to me after I hit the one year mark because that is when I met her. Now, when I am going through a rough time, I can think back to about one year ago and remember what Stephanie was going through at that time, and feel encouraged that I, too, will be able to get through. She has been such a strength to me.

This is why when I saw that July 2nd was a Thursday, therefore, a podcast release day, I knew that I needed to share our friendship and support for each other with all of you. Today, we talk about life at 3 years for her and almost 2 years for me. We compare what this means and talk about our growth and healing. My hope is that for all of you starting your grief journey, this conversation will give you hope for the future. For those of you who are further along than the two of us, perhaps listening will be a reminder to where you were and show you how far you have come.