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Episode 65: Zach's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Release Date: 12/10/2020

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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Episode 112: Alexis's Mom show art Episode 112: Alexis's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

I can honestly say that I enjoy talking to every single guest I have on the podcast. Every story is unique and special, and I always learn something, whether big or small. Many of my guests are inspiring and make me feel just a little bit better about this world. A few guests though, are inspirational to the point that meeting them and talking to them for just an hour changes me and my entire life going forward. Today's guest, Melissa, falls into that final category. I honestly feel like talking to her has motivated me to work on helping myself and my faith in new ways. Melissa's 22 year old...

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Episode 111: Davids's Mom show art Episode 111: Davids's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

When Liene's only child, Davids was killed at the age of 7, she didn't know how she and her husband would survive. Davids was their only child - their joy, full of life and energy. Suddenly, while riding his bike at the park, that life came to an end. When looking back at that time in her life now seven years ago, she credits getting through it by making one little decision at a time. The first decision that she made was that she would not drink one drop of alcohol. She feared if she started, she might not stop. She then decided that she would start to run, but she had so little energy that...

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Episode 110: Luc's Mom show art Episode 110: Luc's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Like many young boys, Luc loved sports. He loved playing soccer and baseball and like every good Canadian boy, Luc loved hockey. His mom, Lianne, says that she thinks what he really loved was being part of a team. He didn't enjoy having the spotlight himself, but he loved being a part of a team in which everyone had fun and shared the spotlight.  When Luc was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 7, he really took it all in stride. He was always very upbeat and positive, just accepting that if he did what the doctors told him, he would be fine. Other kids at school called Luc a 'hero'...

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Episode 109: Aviva's Dad show art Episode 109: Aviva's Dad

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Today's guest, Hans, says he 'prides himself on being a father first and foremost, cherishing every moment of his fatherhood journey.' Before bed each night, his children beg for their dad to make up another silly story to tell them. The stories are always fun and fantastical, including things like dragons, race cars and unicorns. His youngest daughter, Aviva, was not yet one year old and was just starting to appreciate his dad's stories. Aviva was a joyous child who had an infectious smile. She loved to laugh and had a voracious appetite. Aviva also mysterious episodes of illness, however,...

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Episode 108: David's Mom show art Episode 108: David's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Parenting can never be described as easy, but parenting when your family is suffering after the death of a child is beyond difficult. Grief is everywhere, surrounding the family in all that they do. Simple tasks are suddenly not at all simple. In many ways, just getting up every day to get through the day is a huge accomplishment. Adding on the task of trying to raise children and guide them through their own grief seems almost impossible. When Michele's almost 7 year old son David died after a long battle with cancer, his 3 year old sister, Deanna, said something that affected Michele deeply....

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Episode 107: Corey's Mom show art Episode 107: Corey's Mom

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

Nine years ago, when 6 week-old Corey was admitted to the hospital for generalized weakness, everyone assumed that he had some sort of infection. His mother, Stephanie, thought that he would get some medication, maybe some IV fluids and then she would be able to take her little boy home again. On the third day of his hospitalization, however, Stephanie overheard a few residents talking. She heard the use the term, 'SMA' for the first time. A young doctor started a sentence with the words, 'if he lives to 6 months' and 'if he lives to a year.'  Suddenly, Stephanie's life was turned...

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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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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.