191 episodes

When pediatrician mom of three, Marcy Larson's 14 yo son, Andy, was killed in a car accident in 2018, she felt like her life was over. In many ways, that life was over, and a new one forced to begin in its place. Come alongside her as she works through this journey of healing. She discusses grief and child loss with other grieving parents and those who work to help them in their grief. This podcast is for grieving parents and well as those who support them.

Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom Marcy Larson, MD

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.9 • 108 Ratings

When pediatrician mom of three, Marcy Larson's 14 yo son, Andy, was killed in a car accident in 2018, she felt like her life was over. In many ways, that life was over, and a new one forced to begin in its place. Come alongside her as she works through this journey of healing. She discusses grief and child loss with other grieving parents and those who work to help them in their grief. This podcast is for grieving parents and well as those who support them.

    Episode 193: Patricia's Daughter - A Grieving Teen

    Episode 193: Patricia's Daughter - A Grieving Teen

    One of the most commonly asked questions that I get from listeners is, 'How do I help my surviving children in their grief?' and even more specifically, 'How do I help my grieving teen?' When I was contacted by Olivia's dad a few weeks ago, I initially wondered if her story was one that would resonate with my listeners. As I continued reading, however, I realized how much Olivia had to offer. She is a grieving teen. She did not lose a sibling, but she lost her mom and best friend and knows grief in a way that few teens do. I knew that we had to talk more.
    Early in Olivia's grief journey, she says that she felt like everything in her life was out of control. All she wanted was to get a little bit of that control back. She did this in very unique ways. First of all, she blasted karaoke songs in her room singing at the top of her lungs. Secondly, she started dying her hair all sorts of colors. Now from the outside, Olivia admits that others probably thought that she was acting crazy and not at all dealing with her grief, but that was exactly how Olivia needed to grieve. Singing at the top of her lungs released emotion and dying her hair made her feel in control of something when her world seemed to be spinning.
    The third thing that helped Olivia in her grief was writing poetry. She says that shortly after her mom died, she began suffering from horrible abdominal pain. After ruling out medical causes for her pain, Olivia was the one to realize that grief was the cause. She started noticing that as she wrote more and more, her belly pain subsided. It was then that Olivia really started thinking about how her experience might help other teens. She turned her poetry into a book that she self-published through Amazon which she titled, 'Healing Our Wounded Hearts: A real-life story about loss in the voice of a teenager.' She hopes that her words can help other teens know that they are not alone as they grieve. Olivia's honesty is so amazing and inspiring. Thank you, Olivia, for your loving heart.

    • 50 min
    Episode 192: Resilience in Grief

    Episode 192: Resilience in Grief

    Resilience is a word that we don't often think about before encountering tragedy. When we see people face difficult trials and then go on to triumph, people call them resilient, but what is resilience? How would we define resilience? As I was preparing for this podcast, I thought that I should probably look up a true definition so I did just that. Merriam-Webster discusses the word resilience in this way: 'In physics, resilience is the ability of an elastic material to absorb energy (such as from a blow) and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape. The recovery that occurs in this phenomenon can be viewed as analogous to a person's ability to bounce back after a jarring setback.
    Wow! That definition really blew me away. I love the visual of absorbing energy as if from a blow because that is exactly what it feels like when our child dies. It is a tremendous blow that knocks us off our feet. We fear that we will never be able to get up again. We might not be able to go on living. When we go through child loss, it feels like we receive blow after blow, again and again. That is where our resilience comes in. Even though we don't think we will be able to go on, somehow, we do. Somehow, we get out of bed. Somehow, life continues. We are not the same by any means, but we survive as we attempt to go back to something close to our original shape. 
    Today, Gwen and I discuss five key areas that impact our resilience and ability to continue living after tragedy. Thinking about these different points can help as we attempt to move forward through the pain of child loss. Our resilience can assist us so that we to not simply crumple up into a ball and whither away as a result of this great blow, but that we instead retain some of our shape and release positive energy back to those around us.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 191: Baby Jessica's Mom

    Episode 191: Baby Jessica's Mom

    Since starting the podcast, I have often discussed how the mind and body are closely intertwined and how during our grief, one affects the other. Grief doesn't just make us sad. It impacts every aspect of our lives including our bodies. Just a few weeks ago, Gwen and I did an entire episode focusing on how our bodies are affected by grief. As we were preparing for that episode, Gwen suggested talking with today's guest, Cindi, due to her expertise in the area. Unfortunately, numerous scheduling difficulties made that impossible, but after talking with Cindi, I now understand why Gwen felt so strongly about having Cindi on the podcast.
    Cindi is a nurse by training so knew a lot about the functioning of the body. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a teen so knew the medical system long before her nursing training even started. I think all of us instinctively know that there is a body-mind connection, but it is not something that is really taught in Western medicine. We learn a disease model and are taught which medications or procedures to use in order to cure the disease state. 
    When Cindi's newborn daughter, Jessica, died during childbirth, Cindi really began to see just how much grief and stress impacted her physical health. She was living in chronic stress and although the body is amazingly resilient in many ways, it can only adapt and compensate so much. For Cindi, the chronic stress eventually led to liver failure which forced her to stop taking her arthritis meds. No arthritis medication meant that even getting out of bed was almost impossible. On the advice of a trainer, Cindi turned to functional medicine for answers and it completely changed her life.
    Now, Cindi's body and mind are both healthy, and she truly feels like she has an understanding of how grief and other life stresses affect the body. She works with individuals and their doctors to help them find a way to help their bodies find a state of wellness. To learn more, join Cindi's Wellness Warriors Facebook group or email her at cindiraymond@onpurposeLLC.org.

    • 58 min
    Episode 190: Lee's Dad

    Episode 190: Lee's Dad

    When listening to today's episode, you will likely not believe the number of times the word 'hope' is spoken. From the very first day that Jimmy's 22-year-old son, Lee, was killed in a car accident 16 years ago, Jimmy has clung to hope. Initially, that hope was given to him by another bereaved father who stayed with him in his home after Lee died. He said that although Jimmy could not feel it at that moment, the pain would not always be so intense and that his family would experience joy again. This was Jimmy's first glimpse of hope.
    In the coming months and years, Jimmy's grief was intense. There were days when he did not think he could survive the pain, but that little glimmer of hope remained. His faith never abandoned him, and he would constantly remind himself of Psalm 118:24 - This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Each day, he would make the decision to choose joy. This did not mean that he did not grieve deeply. Jimmy cried daily and would allow the waves of grief to come. After those periods of deep mourning, however, he would feel just a bit better. 
    Over time, that hope grew stronger and the joyful moments became more frequent. Jimmy relates that years after Lee's death, their first grandchild was born. He remembers looking into his wife's eyes that day and seeing pure joy resonating there for the first time since the accident. It had taken years, but it was there. That does not mean that Jimmy has left his grief behind. It is always right there with him. He even apologized before we started recording, telling me that he would not be able to tell Lee's story without tears.
    That's what makes Jimmy's words so precious to me. If Jimmy were to tell me just to feel joy and forget about the pain, I would have cast him aside. If he had told me to cling to my grief and never feel joy again, I would not be able to feel any hope for the future. Jimmy, however, allows us to experience both. His parting words to me today were, 'There is hope for joy in your life again. Hold on to hope. Don't give up.'

    • 56 min
    Episode 189: Andrew's Mom

    Episode 189: Andrew's Mom

    When listening to the story of Donna's son, Andrew, I was immediately struck with how his life was touched by God. That is not to say Andrew didn't encounter difficulties. In fact, quite the opposite is true. God seemed to shut door after door in his face, but would at the exact right moment, open a window for life to take a new path. Andrew obediently crawled through each window.
    From a young age, Andrew dreamed of being an Air Force pilot. As he grew taller, he was eventually told that he would be too tall to be a fighter pilot. He was crushed, but soon afterward, God opened that window. He started going on church mission trips and met a missionary pilot. He found his answer - he could combine his love for flying with doing work in the mission field. After high school, he packed up and moved from Colorado to Spokane, Washington, to train to be a missionary pilot.
    Then, another door closed. His log book that he had to keep meticulous records in to become a pilot was stolen not once, but twice. In the meantime, he had started volunteering at Peak 7 Adventures, and God opened a window. Peak 7 is a faith-based non-profit providing outdoor adventures to under-resourced young people. He found a new purpose in life. He taught climbing and was a guide for white water rafting. Over 4 years, he spent more than 4500 hours teaching, loving, and encouraging young people. Even as he thought about returning home to Colorado, God intervened, and Andrew met and eventually married his soul mate, Emily.
    Stories like these are weaved throughout today's episode, but it certainly seemed like Andrew's final door was closed when he died suddenly from a fall just as he was getting ready to work on repairs in a local climbing area. As much as it felt like the end, however, Donna can now see that even in Andrew's death, a few smaller windows opened for others to crawl through. Peak 7 started a new program, naming it after Andrew. Fellow climbers continued the work Andrew started by replacing old, rusty pins in the climbing areas around Spokane. 
    Donna started going through windows as well. Initially, she went to a local GriefShare, then to a bereaved moms group 30 miles away. Next, Donna went through training to become a small group facilitator. Now, she hosts bereaved moms in her own home several times a year, giving them love and support as they suffer the worst pain a mother could know. 
    Thank you, God, for both doors and windows.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 188: Ask Me Anything

    Episode 188: Ask Me Anything

    Today's episode is the long-awaited Ask Me Anything episode. Virtually all of the submitted questions were for my husband. Perhaps this should not be surprising. I am pretty much an open book on the podcast and am very open with my emotions. Dads can very much be a mystery when it comes to grief. They tend to hold their thoughts and feelings much closer to the chest than moms do. This point was on full display throughout the episode.
    Tomorrow is Andy's 19th birthday. It should be the first birthday being away from home. He should be starting to stress out a little about his upcoming college finals. I should be telling him to let the family drive out to pick him up from his dorm for a couple of hours to take him to a birthday dinner. I should be bringing Lemon Bundt Cake for him to eat with all of his friends.
    Instead, this is the 5th birthday that we have had to celebrate without him and it is not getting easier. In fact, I would argue that this is the hardest one yet. Five years. Five years is a milestone. If you work at a job, we often celebrate after every five years. Wedding anniversaries. Class reunions. They are all celebrated in 5-year increments. This isn't something I want to celebrate. Over the next few months, we will hit the fifth Mother's Day, the fifth Father's Day, the fifth 4th of July, and finally, on August 15th, the 5-year anniversary of his death.
    I have been overwhelmed with emotions all week. Yesterday, I even had to take 45 minutes from work and leave. This brings us back to the differences between us as Eric answered questions that listeners posed. I talked about my emotionality this week and Eric admitted that he really isn't feeling that bothered by the upcoming birthday. Now, he may have trouble on Friday, but he doesn't feel anything close to what I have been experiencing. While I am a blubbering mess, he seems totally normal.
    The craziest part is that when he admitted that he wasn't upset and showed no emotion while we were recording, I actually found myself getting a little mad. I just wanted someone to experience this pain with me, and it seemed like it should be Eric. Yesterday, when I was falling apart and had to leave work, he is not one that I texted to give me support. I texted other bereaved moms and called a friend, but I did not reach out to Eric.
    A few hours later, I got a text from Eric out of the blue that said, 'Virtual hug.' I assumed that one of my friends that sent him a message that I was having a hard day and had called, but it turns out no one had. I told him about my horrible morning and asked how he knew that I needed that 'hug' if nobody had told him. He answered, "I do listen, you know."
    I guess that's the lesson that I needed to learn. Dads may not feel the pain in the same way that Moms do, but it does not mean that they don't care or that they aren't listening. Eric heard my pain and even though he didn't show it on the outside, he cared about how I was feeling. I need to remember that we don't need to feel things in the same way. In fact, our grief journeys can't be the same. We just still need to quietly support each other, even if it is with a simple virtual hug.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
108 Ratings

108 Ratings

Tx1998 ,

Very helpful

I lost my 36 years old daughter exactly four weeks ago today. I’m addition to that, I had cancer surgery three days later, so I’m going through a lot. This podcast has really helped me mentally to not feel so alone and out of it. I haven’t been able to listen to all of the episodes, but look forward to catching up. Thank you, Andy’s Mom. From Samantha’s Mom.

Landen G Mom ,

Grieving mother

I lost my 17 year old son on November 19, 2022. It has been the most horrific pain I have ever experienced. This podcast has helped me to feel like I’m not alone in this battle. Thank you for what you do ❤️

Deacon0222 Mom ,

Thankful for the podcast!!

Found the podcast almost 7 months ago when my son Deacon past suddenly on Mother’s Day of this year. I was/ and still am feeling so alone in my grief and the podcast has helped me understand my feelings and thoughts. I have a lot more hope knowing I can get through my loss. Thank you for the podcast.
Deacon forever 20

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