Andy’s Mom. These are such sweet words for me to hear. When today’s guest, Mary, wrote me a few weeks ago, and she introduced herself as Andy’s Mom, we had an instant connection. She was not Andrew’s Mom or Drew’s Mom; she was Andy’s Mom, and I immediately had tears in my eyes just reading the words. I recently had a Caleb’s Mom write to me to tell me how listening to another Caleb’s Mom on the podcast affected her. I have had other moms say similar things. I had experienced something close to this when I spoke with Andrew’s Mom a few weeks ago, but this was even more precious. This was Andy’s Mom.

I was not surprised that this story touched me uniquely. As Mary talked about ‘her’ Andy, I found myself thinking about ‘my’ Andy. I compared them. How were they alike? How were they different? As ‘her’ Andy died when he was 35 years old and starting his career as a dentist, I thought more specifically about what ‘my’ Andy may have been like had he reached his adult years. What would he have chosen for a career? Where would he have lived? Would he have found someone to share his life with? Would he be like Mary’s Andy and just be started to find his stride and peak in life?

As I approach episode 200 next week, I am even more struck by the idea that stories touch us in very special ways. Sharing our stories with each other helps our children live on in the hearts and minds of others. As I write these words, tears are streaming down my face. Hearing other stories, as tragic as they are, binds us together. Now, I have the story of another Andy in my heart, this one an Andy who dies tragically a bit older and in the prime of his life. It doesn’t even stop there, however. I have the stories of Caleb, Garret, Eleni, Luke, and Parker in my heart. I have the stories of Brogan, Taylor, Angelo, Dakota, and Alex. I have all these stories and dozens upon dozens more, those whose stories are on the podcast and those shared with me through email or the support group. Thank you to all of those who are willing to share to help others feel not quite so alone in their grief.