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Episode 65: Zach's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Release Date: 12/10/2020

Episode 106: Support: Who Do I Feel Better Around? show art Episode 106: Support: Who Do I Feel Better Around?

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

When someone asks you how you are doing, what is your response? I know that for most people, even bereaved people, the quick answer is, "Fine." (I learned today a great acronym for FINE - Feelings I'm Not Expressing.) Inwardly, we may wonder, 'Do you really want to know or are you just making polite conversation?' We don't want to open ourselves up to the many people who would truly be uncomfortable if we are honest with them. We want to be sure that they will be supportive first, but how can we really know the answer to that question? On today's podcast, Gwen and I discuss the topic of who...

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Episode 105: Garret's Mom & Sister show art Episode 105: Garret's Mom & Sister

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

We have spoken many times over the past two years about the fact that there is no 'right way' to grieve and that different people grieve in very different ways, even if they are grieving the same person in the same family. Archie and Elina are great examples of this very point. From the first days after Garret died in a tragic car accident just over a year ago now, their grief journeys looked very, very different.  Elina, Garret's sister felt motivated to do everything even bigger than she did before his death. Birthdays and holidays needed to be bigger and better. She went back to work...

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Episode 104: Martin's Mom show art Episode 104: Martin's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Live in the moment. When Joni's son, Martin, was dying from cancer at the age of 18, the family asked him if he had any words of advice for his newborn baby sister. His answer, "Live in the moment." Those four simple words pack a lot of punch when you really think about them. They remind us to appreciate each and every day. Don't worry about what might happen or what you might be missing. Just enjoy what you have. Martin's medical history is about as complex as any I have had on the show. He was born in kidney failure and had to start dialysis as a newborn. He survived and even thrived after...

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Episode 103: Emmy's Mom show art Episode 103: Emmy's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Emmy's Mom, Erin, knew her daughter was going to be a special girl from the moment she was born. Emily (known by her family as Emmy) was born on 8/03/03 at 3:08pm weighing 8 lbs 3oz in labor room 308. She quickly became the talk of the entire labor and delivery floor. Everyone wanted to meet the girl with all of the 3's and 8's.  Emmy's special nature had only just begun in that labor room. For the next 17 years, Emmy continued to be special and unique although not always in the fun ways of those first minutes and hours. She was always an emotional girl. Her highs were amazingly high, but...

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Episode 102:  Luke's Mom show art Episode 102: Luke's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Today's guest, Laura, loves sharing the story of her son, Luke, and his amazing teen faith in God. Throughout all of his struggles with cancer, he never lost that faith. Luke always lived with an eternal perspective. He was an inspiration to so many people, including his own mother. In the days before Luke's death, the one thing he wanted to do before he died was to be on a work crew at a Young Life Camp. He had gone to many times as a camper. His parents were in ministry and heavily involved in camp. While other kids may want to spend their last days a little more selfishly, all Luke wanted...

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Episode 101: Nico's Mom & Wife; Juju's Grandma & Mom show art Episode 101: Nico's Mom & Wife; Juju's Grandma & Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

This episode of the Always Andy's Mom podcast focuses on relationships and loss. Today, I have the privilege to speak with two guests mourning the loss of two special people in their lives. Just over one year ago, Nicholas (Nico) and his 4 year old son, Julian (Juju), were killed in a car accident when they went out for a quick trip to get ice cream. In a moment, the lives of the two women who loved them most were changed forever. Janie lost her son and grandson while her daughter-in-law, Andrea, lost her husband and son. Both were experiencing tremendous loss with the deaths of these two...

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Episode 100: Livestream with Marcy & Eric show art Episode 100: Livestream with Marcy & Eric

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Two years ago, when I started the Always Andy's Mom podcast, I never could have imagined getting to episode 100. I remember Eric saving the first episode on the computer which he named 'Episode 001.' I thought it was ridiculous that he would put three digits. I never expected that first digit would ever be anything other than a zero, but here we are. As of this moment, the podcast has over 72,000 downloads in 78 different countries. It is bigger than me. It is even bigger than Andy. Today's podcast episode is far different than the others. It is a recording of a livestream event that Eric and...

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Episode 99: Miles' Mom show art Episode 99: Miles' Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Unlike all of my previous guests, when Miles' mom, Kate, first contacted me in January of this year, her sweet, almost 1 year old son, was still alive. They had just taken Miles home to die after learning that his cancer had spread to the point where treatment could no longer be effective. Kate and her husband were grasping at anything, trying to prepare themselves for his death, perhaps trying to limit some of the pain that they knew would be coming. Kate knew, even then in January, that she would want to share Miles' story with others. She just didn't know when that would be and what exactly...

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Episode 98: Meaning Making 2 (+ Bryson's Doctor) show art Episode 98: Meaning Making 2 (+ Bryson's Doctor)

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Over the past almost two years, I have interviewed dozens of bereaved parents. I have learned something from each and every one of them. All of them have done something they never thought possible after the deaths of their children. Some of these things are big, like starting a foundation or organization to help others and keep the memories of their children alive. Some have done smaller, quieter gestures. All have been brave enough to share their stories with other bereaved parents on the podcast. This is why when Gwen and I recorded Part 1 of Meaning Making (), we thought that we would have...

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Episode 97: Eliza's Mom show art Episode 97: Eliza's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Imagine for just a moment that you are on a long-planned 'girls trip' to Las Vegas for a fun weekend with 10 of your closest friends from college. It is a time you've been looking forward to for weeks, planned and re-planned, coordinating everyone's individual schedules to fly across the country and arrive at about the same time. Imagine now, that you wake up in your hotel room early that first morning to your phone ringing. It is your husband, crying on the other end of the phone, making the hardest call he has ever had to make in his life. Your only child, your precious 4 year old daughter,...

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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.