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Episode 65: Zach's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Release Date: 12/10/2020

Episode 152: Erick's Mom show art Episode 152: Erick's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

My favorite quote from today’s guest, Ninette, is perhaps the best line ever uttered on the podcast. When describing grief, Ninette said, “It’s a long journey, you know. Bring some snacks.” Truer words have never been said. Grief is a long journey. If anyone understands just how long the grief journey is, Ninette would. Ninette lost her infant son, Erick, 30 years ago now. Her grief journey started out like many of ours did - Ninette started seeing a therapist. Unfortunately, her therapist knew next to nothing about grief and child loss. In fact, every time Ninette tried to talk about...

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Episode 151: Jackson's Mom show art Episode 151: Jackson's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

After Andy died, many well meaning people had all sorts of ideas of things that we could do in his memory. People encouraged me to go to our state capitol to work on registration to combat distracted driving. People recommended scholarships to be made in Andy’s name, plaques to help remember him. Everyone seemed to have a different idea and they were all good ideas, but just because someone has a good idea does not mean it is the right fit for me and how my family wants to remember our Andy. After time, I knew that I was called to remember Andy through the making of a podcast. When...

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Episode 150: Dani's Mom & Step-Dad show art Episode 150: Dani's Mom & Step-Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

You can't judge what is going on the inside by what you see of the outside. From the outside, Dani looked like she had it all. She lived in a great place on Capitol Hill, drove an expensive car, had many designer purses, sunglasses and shoes, but on the inside, Dani struggled with her mental health. She was always quick to help others going through a hard time, but sometimes did so even when her own well was running dry. Dani's parents shared that on that fateful day back in 2019, their daughter went from the highest of highs with the birth of her new niece to 15 hours later feeling like she...

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Episode 149: Self-Care and Grief show art Episode 149: Self-Care and Grief

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

I have recently been feeling sort of drained emotionally. I want to keep giving to others and helping other people, but there are days when the well seems a little dry. I worry that I won't have the capacity to do everything I want to do. My therapist told me to take care of myself. Gwen tells me to take care of myself. Friends and family members remind me to take care of myself, but I'm not even sure how to do that anymore. As I asked myself that question, "How do I care for myself in my grief?", I realized that there is one person whom I fully trust to have the right answer. Gwen. So...

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Episode 148: William, Emire & Elon's Mom show art Episode 148: William, Emire & Elon's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

‘Everything happens for a reason, life goes on.’ Please know that bereaved parents have not lost their ability to think or to be logical. We know life goes on; we just don’t know how. Yes, everything does happen for a reason; we struggle with the why’s. Our child’s life as we once knew it, does not go on. Our child’s body has stopped functioning. In lots of ways, so did ours. - Sherita Thomas, ‘What Did You Say?’ Like many other bereaved parents, today’s guest, Sherita, has heard many well-meaning statements from people after the death of her 4 1/2 year old son, William....

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Episode 147: Kian's Mom show art Episode 147: Kian's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

I love how interconnected things can become and how our huge world can suddenly feel really small. Two weeks ago now, I interviewed Cassie, Ella’s mom. You may remember that Ella died from an extremely rare tumor. Although she was 23 years old at the time of her illness and death, her tumor acted very much like a pediatric rhabdoid tumor so she was treated by a pediatric team in her home city of Paris, France. Almost 4000 miles away, baby Kian, was undergoing treatment for his own rhabdoid tumor which had been found on his kidney at 3 months of age. Kian’s mother, Sahar, was navigating...

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Episode 146: Gina's Sister show art Episode 146: Gina's Sister

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Experiencing the death of a close loved one changes people. I became a changed person after mom mom died of cancer when I was in college. I changed again probably even more dramatically after my son, Andy, was killed in our car accident. When today’s guest, Crystal, lost her sister to suicide 3 years ago, Crystal’s life was forever changed. Crystal had a young family including a 3 year old daughter. She was just finishing up her final weeks of college to earn her degree. She had a plan for her life. And then, her world was turned upside down when Gina, whom everyone described as a full of...

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Episode 145: Ella's Mom show art Episode 145: Ella's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

A few years ago now, Cassie’s daughter, Ella, wrote a piece on the meaning of beauty. In the final sentence of the piece, Ella wrote, “The only thing that means anything at all is excruciating beauty if only you can find it.” For people who follow me on social media, they will recognize that I have grown to appreciate that phrase and even apply it to my life. Every guest certainly teaches me something about my own grief. Every once in a while, however, I have an interview that I feel impacts me in a way where I will be forever changed. Hearing Cassie repeat the words written by her...

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Episode 144: Jackson's Mom & Dad show art Episode 144: Jackson's Mom & Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a self-proclaimed data and analytics guy, Ben discovered a disturbing fact shortly after his infant son, Jackson, died. He learned that nearly 50,000 children between the ages of 0 and 20 die each year in the United States alone. That means that each year, 100,000 parents have to live through this horrific nightmare. This does not even include any step-parents or other family members who are suffering as well. Last week, we were introduced to Everly’s parents, Nick and Martha. They also lost their infant daughter, although in a very different way than how Ben and Lara lost Jackson. Both...

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Episode 143: Everly's Mom & Dad show art Episode 143: Everly's Mom & Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

When Nick and Martha’s young daughter, Everly, was brought to the emergency room from daycare, they were told, “Your daughter is very sick.” Martha remembers thinking, “No, she’s not. She’s totally healthy.” Shortly after that conversation, the parents were brought into the room were they were unsuccessfully trying to resuscitate Everly. Nick and Martha were hit with the reality that their previously healthy daughter had suddenly died. Nick and Martha were in shock. They were completely devastated and had no idea what to do. Nick, being a problem-solver, began to ask hospital...

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Today's guest, Robyn Karns, knows hardship - she has experienced abuse, widowhood, a miscarriage, and divorce, but 17 months ago, her life was absolutely rocked to the core. Robyn lost her firstborn and her best friend, Zach. She wondered how she would be able to go on from this tremendous loss. Losing Zach made all of her other trials pale in comparison. How could she keep getting up each day and living life?

Robyn truly felt as if she were under attack, like Satan thought he would finally win, but she vowed to herself that she would not give in. While many of us become angry with God and even turn our backs on Him, Robyn told the Lord, "It can’t be for nothing. You have got to turn this around for your glory. You HAVE to make this make sense in one way or the other."

Over that past year, Robyn's life has changed in more ways than she ever could have imagined. Just over a year ago, she had the idea to make leather earrings for herself and for her daughters. She needed to do something with her hands to keep herself busy. Soon, people began to ask on Facebook if she might be willing to sell the earrings. She quickly realized that there may be a way to talk to others about Zach and about how God was helping her through his tragic death. In addition to earrings, she soon began designing other jewelry including warrior bracelets for bereaved mothers, and jewelry with anchor designs in memory of Zach. This project quickly changed from something to keep her hands busy to a business and ministry.

On Robyn's website, robynkarns.com, where she now sells her jewelry, she writes a letter to bereaved mothers, whom she calls 'warrior mamas.' Part of that letter is written below:

If I were with you I'd wrap you up in a big hug and tell you…

When you get out of bed everyday…. You are a Warrior.

When you are in a corner crying for days...You are a Warrior.

When you are so mad at God… You are a Warrior.

When you can’t even muster a word in prayer….You are STILL a Warrior. 

When you feel you will never get through this….You are still a Warrior.

By the end of my conversation with Robyn (which extended at least 30 minutes beyond the recording), I feel like I had found an old friend. I actually told her that I felt a sisterly love for her after only one conversation. She made me feel like I truly am a warrior. 

In Robyn's life, she keeps getting hit again and again by trials, but she is not giving up, and that can inspire all of the rest of us as well. She just keeps fighting and turning all of the hardships, all of this bad stuff, into good. She never stops giving glory to God and continues to be obedient and show up for others when they need to be lifted up as well.