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Episode 65: Zach's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Release Date: 12/10/2020

Episode 122: Liel's Dad show art Episode 122: Liel's Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

I have a confession to make. I have been lying to you all for almost two and a half years now. In my defense, I did not know that I was lying so I guess maybe technically, it is not a lie, but I do need to apologize regardless. I have said from the very first Always Andy's Mom podcast episode that when I looked for a podcast specifically for grieving parents back in May 2019, there were none out there. I was wrong. There was one at that time, and it is hosted by today's guest, Michael.  Michael's precious daughter, Liel, was born with congenital heart disease, later was diagnosed with...

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Episode 121: Max's Dad show art Episode 121: Max's Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Courageous. Brave. Strong. These are words that people often use to describe those of us who are bereaved parents. 'You're so strong! I could never do what you are able to do!' Statements like this actually irritate me somewhat. I am not courageous or brave or strong. I am weak and I want and need help from others every single day. This is not something that I even want to be strong enough to do on my own. Today's guest, Ivan, feels much that same way that I do about these often-used phrases. Ivan worked for many years as a sports journalist for ESPN so after his son, Max, died by suicide, he...

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Episode 120: Post-Christmas Chat show art Episode 120: Post-Christmas Chat

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Support from other grieving people can play such an integral role in our grief journeys. Being able to talk with people who 'get it' can bring us comfort. Witnessing those who are just a little further along in their grief story can inspire us to know that it is possible to not only live after loss, but to experience bits of joy in that life as well. As a part of the wrap-up to the Christmas season, as well as a wrap-up to 2021, I decided to get 4 amazing moms together to talk just about this and to show how slowly and surely, things do change over time when we allow ourselves to work through...

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Episode 119: Godwinks with Gwen show art Episode 119: Godwinks with Gwen

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

What do yellow irises, a winter planter and a $10 bill have in common? They are all parts of amazing stories in today's podcast. The holidays are an especially difficult time to be grieving. It seems that everyone around you is happy. Their smiling faces often make our pain feel even more raw. Happiness seems so distant. Two years ago, shortly after starting the podcast, as Christmas arrived, I felt like I needed to do something different for a Christmas episode. It needed to be special and it needed to be uplifting. I settled on doing an episode called "Messages of Hope" (). I was attending a...

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Episode 118: Brogan's Mom show art Episode 118: Brogan's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

When today's guest, Dana, lost her son Brogan in a freak accident at the young age of 10, people watching her from the outside might have thought that she would be able to handle it a bit 'easier' that other parents. You see, Dana is a pediatric oncology nurse in a children's hospital who has cared for dying children for her entire career. She has been the one to hug a newly bereaved family who lost their precious son or daughter. Dana has attended more funerals for children than the vast majority of people. In fact, Dana had even thought about what she would want at the funeral for one of her...

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Episode 117: Loving Life After Loss show art Episode 117: Loving Life After Loss

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

On the day that Marie's husband, Rob, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, Marie's young son asked her a question through his tears, "Who will take care of us now?" Marie's answer was quick and definite. "I will. I will take care of us." At the time, she did not realize just how important it was to say that sentence out loud to her boys, but it was crucial. She made a decision in that moment. It was up to her to raise their boys and to continue the happy life they had started together. As Marie began to navigate this new world of being a 'widow', she quickly began to hate the term. She realized...

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Episode 116: Emilia's Mama & Dada show art Episode 116: Emilia's Mama & Dada

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

From the first moments after baby Emilia was born, things did not go according to plan. The birth plan that was so carefully written, went completely out of the window when Emilia had trouble breathing. She was quickly diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia. Later, it was found that she had a mild heart defect as well. Although Emilia battled breathing problems and feeding problems, she seemed to defeat each obstacle that was put in her way with a big, happy smile on her face. By the age of 16 months, it seemed as if Emilia had conquered all of her medical problems and was going to spend the...

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Episode 115: Jacob's Sister show art Episode 115: Jacob's Sister

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

"Grief is not an emotion; it is an experience." These are wise words from today's guest, words that I want to spread far and wide to anyone who will listen. Grief is not a feeling like happiness, sadness, anger or worry. I don't say to someone, 'I am feeling grief today.' I feel grief every day. It just looks different depending on which of the countless number of grief emotions that I might be feeling at that moment. When Sara's brother, Jacob, died unexpectedly in college from a heart attack, she was in the middle of her training to become a social worker. Prior to Jacob's death, Sara...

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Episode 114: Grieving Through the Holidays show art Episode 114: Grieving Through the Holidays

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

It is heard both in song and in general conversation that this is 'the most wonderful time of the year.' For those of us who are grieving, however, nothing can be further from the truth. We often approach this holiday season with feelings of dread, rather than excitement. We fear that our loved ones will not understand the pain that the holiday season brings. We feel pressure to do more than we are ready to do. In today's episode, Gwen and I delve into how grieving people can approach and try to prepare for holiday events and all of the emotions that come with the holiday season. This was...

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Episode 113: Stevie's Mom show art Episode 113: Stevie's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Eight months ago, today's guest, Erin, got an unthinkable call while she and her husband had gone away for a weekend getaway - their previously healthy 14 month old daughter hadn't woken up that morning. She remembers the day vividly, the thoughts, the feelings. 'I remember being in such disbelief. What happened? She's healthy. She's never been sick.' Erin was right. Stevie was completely healthy. Her autopsy results showed nothing. Her cause of death was officially termed, 'unexplained,' a condition also known as Sudden Unexplained Death of Childhood. Erin's life is now divided into the...

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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.