247 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 • 125 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 249 - Clarke's Mom

    Episode 249 - Clarke's Mom

    Today's guest, Pat, says that when her son Alex (all his friends called him Clarke) was young, her family would have been considered a 'good' family. She and her husband were college professors with great jobs and an amazing son who was both intelligent and athletic. They enjoyed backyard barbecues with friends and neighbors. They had no idea that a major change was just around the corner.

    After Alex turned 12, he began to suffer from anxiety and a severe eating disorder. His ready smile seemed to disappear and their lives were now instead filled with therapists and doctors, doing both outpatient and inpatient treatments to try to battle his mental illness. After much therapy, it seemed that the eating disorder symptoms were better and that the worst might be behind them. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning for Alex and his family.
    Alex journaled so many parts of his journey and mental health struggles. Life felt like it was spinning out of control, and initially, he felt better when controlling his eating. As he got older, however, he began to turn first to alcohol and then to drugs to gain a sense of control. Pat says Alex's life 'veered between happiness, anxiety, success, and despair.' Alex entered rehab again and again but ultimately lost his life to a drug overdose.
    Pat was crushed as all bereaved mothers are and wondered what more they might have done. With her background as a sociology professor, she began to look at Alex's life differently. Pat began to research social and institutional factors that may have contributed to Alex's death. She looked closely at Alex's life by interviewing friends, therapists, police officers, and others who knew Alex. She compiled all this into a book, Surviving Alex: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Addiction. In her book, she 'calls for a community of action that would improve care for substance users and reduce addiction, realigning public health policy to address the overdose crisis.' She hopes that through Alex's story, she can show the world a more compassionate, caring way to help those suffering from mental health and substance use issues.

    • 1 hr
    Episode 248: The Work of Grief

    Episode 248: The Work of Grief

    When listener, Carolyn, sent us a list of topics that she thought would be great for our Livestream chats, several stood out to us as great ideas. The first one we decided to tackle concerned the Work of Grief and even more specifically having an annual grief plan in place. To be honest, the idea of a grief plan both intrigued me and gave me anxiety. I feared that if I found myself unable to follow the plan, I would feel like I had failed and I worried that I would feel worse instead of better. 
    After Carolyn listened Monday night, she wrote back to me giving me even more to think about. Carolyn wrote, 'My Annual Grief Plan is a dynamic document. I set goals and adjust them along the way. It changes every year. I don't feel like a failure because grief is unpredictable. I helps me to continue to move forward with love for Jimmy.' She went on to write that she had worked on her grief plan recently. Her plan has four categories: Grief, Spiritual, Health and Friends. One of her goals for this year was to start a memorial garden (see picture on website). Other goals included changes in her diet and acknowledging changes in friendships.
    Listening to the podcast again and reading that email got me to think about my own grief plans. I wonder if writing them down in this way would help me achieve more in my grief so I am deciding to give it a try.
    1. Grief - Co-host my first grief retreat. Explore what future retreats might look like.
    2. Spiritual - Increase my trust in God by being more intentional with prayer.
    3. Health - Improve diet and exercise daily.
    4. Friends - Go out socially with friends at least once per month.
    Well, there it is for the world to see. My current annual plan. Its not complicated, but hopefully having specific goals will help my focus. A few months from now, I will be able to look back and see where I am, knowing that my plan too, is a dynamic document. As I revisit the plan in 2025, it will almost certainly change, but not because I have failed in some way. It will change because my grief will change and as my grief changes, I will as well. Thank you, Carolyn, for your inspiration.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Episode 247: TJ's Mom

    Episode 247: TJ's Mom

    When grieving mom, Olga, is feeling down and defeated, she will watch a video that her late son, TJ, asked to make while she was working on a project herself.  In the video, TJ says, 'We are dedicated and motivated. We do not give up. Even if we are sad, we do not give up. Never.' At the time, TJ was a happy, healthy young 5-year-old boy. He was a joy and a light to all around him. Olga had no idea that he would tragically die just a year later when he drowned at summer camp.
    As TJ's family mourned TJ, they were struck by the fact that his death was so preventable. TJ's parents did not want another family to suffer this tragedy so they started a foundation just 4 months after TJ's death. TJ's Story has two primary goals. The first goal is to work with legislators in the state of Missouri to enact legislation to improve safety at summer camps. Many camps had policies that recommended a certain number of lifeguards to be present for children to swim. In fact, the camp that TJ attended had such a policy, but when a lifeguard called in sick that day, they went ahead with swimming anyway. TJ's parents hope that if this policy was instead a state law, camps would be more likely to cancel swimming instead of breaking the law. The second goal of TJ's story is to help provide free swim lessons to young children. They currently have an amazing partnership with Goldfish Swim School to help provide lessons. They have amazing fundraisers where they have been able to raise thousands of dollars.
    Certainly, over these weeks and months following TJ's death, Olga has had periods when she feels like giving up, but TJ's words always come back to her. 'Even if we are sad, we do not give up. Never.' His bright smile and friendly manner will never be forgotten. Olga says that TJ came in like a firecracker and went out like a rainbow, but it seems to me that through TJ's Story, the light of the rainbow is going to keep on shining. Although Olga and her family only had six short years of memories with TJ, their hard work will make it so countless other children will live to be able to create far more memories of their own.

    • 54 min
    Episode 246: Ben's Mom

    Episode 246: Ben's Mom

    When I am suddenly stuck in traffic on a busy freeway, feelings of panic quickly build inside me. My heart starts beating faster. My hands begin to feel sweaty. It can feel difficult to breathe. As I tightly grip the steering wheel, visions of another car accident come into my mind. I say to myself over and over, 'I can't do this. I can't do this.'
    Today's guest, Jamie, may have a solution to the struggles I and many other traumatized people have. The beautiful thing is that it is something that you can learn to do to help yourself. Jamie first learned about EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) tapping when her college-aged son, Ben, was struggling with anxiety and schizophrenia. She was tapping on parts of her body and saying the following phrase - I love and accept myself just as I am. She soon found herself weeping. Jamie realized that as much as she thought it was a good idea to love and accept herself, she did not actually truly feel that way at her core.
    After Ben died by suicide, Jamie was understandably crushed. She said her mind was filled with 'what if's' and 'I wish I had's.' (What if we had gone to another doctor? I should have done more to help.) Jamie soon realized she needed to let go of those thoughts. The solution came through EFT tapping. As she was tapping, she would say positive statements to herself. I am OK. I love and accept myself just as I am. This time, however, she believed it. She could love and accept herself and let go of the negative thoughts.
    Instead of having the devastation of Ben's death consume her, Jamie decided that Ben's death would be fuel for her to move forward. Despite Ben's death, she was determined to bring just a little bit of beauty into the world. In her mind, the best way she could do this was to become an EFT tapping practitioner. Through her website, tapforhappiness.com, she helps teach people to use tapping in their own trauma and grief.
    As for me, I hope that someday soon, when driving in traffic, I will be able to replace my words of 'I can't do this' with 'I am OK.' Hopefully, I will even believe the words when I say them.

    • 59 min
    Episode 245: Zachary's Dad

    Episode 245: Zachary's Dad

    Today's guest, Jason, has always felt a bit unique as a dad. Early in their marriage, Jason and his wife decided that when they had children, he would be the stay-at-home parent. I was actually surprised to learn that 1 in 5 stay-at-home parents are now stay-at-home dads. What makes Jason's story more unique, however, is that both of his children had special needs. When someone is the primary caregiver of a special needs child, it often becomes a huge part of their identity so when their child dies, a part of them feels like it dies as well.
    When Jason's son, Zachary, unexpectedly died of sepsis, Jason suddenly felt alone. Like many of the moms of special needs children whom I have interviewed over the past year, Jason felt very isolated. Jason turned to social media to find others who were suffering the same pain and grief. He longed to find other dads to talk with, but couldn't seem to find any. He became involved in many Facebook groups and found that he would be one of the only men who would regularly contribute.
    On the advice of a therapist, Jason began to write out his feelings. They were raw and unfiltered letters to his son, Zachery. He imagined that someday he would simply throw them out, but instead decided to ask to post them on a bereaved parent's Facebook page. The feedback he received was so overwhelming that he eventually decided to make his own social media accounts. He entitled his Facebook page 'Letters to Zachary.'
    Jason's 'Letters to Zachary' Facebook page now has almost 1000 followers. He says that his purpose is two-fold. First, he wants to show other bereaved dads that it is not only ok but good to open up and share the feelings that they have related to grief and loss. The second purpose is to give women some insight into the mind of a bereaved dad. He hopes that his sharing may help women understand the grieving men in their lives just a little bit better. Hopefully, the discussions that Jason starts can help couples better understand each other as they grieve together.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Episode 244: Jakey's Mom

    Episode 244: Jakey's Mom

    When today's guest, Heather, lost her precious 4-year-old son, Jake, 13 years ago, her life was turned upside-down. Jake (or Jakey as he was often called) was medically fragile and suffered from chronic seizures, as well as additional medical complications, but Heather never allowed herself to think that he would die. Heather left her job as a special ed teacher and dedicated her life to making Jake's life the best it could be. Shortly after Jake died, Heather and her family realized that not everyone had the resources and skills to help their own medically complex kids. They started a non-profit organization called Jake's Help from Heaven. The nonprofit works with families to provide items not covered by insurance that will give them opportunities to thrive. Some items are big and life-changing and others are quite small, but their goal is to come from a 'place of yes' to help every family possible.
    As rewarding as the organization has been, Heather found that much of her time had to be dedicated to planning fundraising events instead of spending time with the families. This made Heather begin to think about trying to do things differently. What if instead of sponsoring numerous events throughout the year, they simply asked their donors for money and used their time and energy to tell stories instead? These stories have become 'The Place of Yes' podcast. Some of these stories are about Jake and their family and others are about the families Jake's Help from Heaven had assisted. Still others are about people living in grief each day. All of these stories, however, are about people using their grief for good.
    When Heather thought about having to move forward after the devastating loss of Jake, she discovered this about herself. She says on her podcast, "All I can say is, you can dig deep, figure out where you are, and figure out where you want to be, and for me, I found the answer was in a place of yes." She longs to make the world a better place for chronically ill children and now for grieving families as well. Through the nonprofit, and now the podcast, I know that she will do just that.

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
125 Ratings

125 Ratings

Lvnmybyz ,

So helpful in my worst time

My son passed 11/26/23. He was our youngest. I listen to the episodes from the beginning and they help me so much. Making me feel understood. The resources have been very helpful. Thank you so very much for having the courage and strength to do this podcast

hoops57 ,

Lost our son at 22 months

We lost our 22 month special needs child … be happy to share … it was in 1995…

Many thanks for sharing everyone’s story

Momfasting ,

Such a gift

This podcast is such an amazing blessing for bereaved parents. We lost our 16 year old son this April and wandering around in this wilderness is very isolating and confusing on top of the relentless pain. Someone shared this podcast with me a couple months into my grief, and I’ve probably listened to half the episodes already. God bless you Marcy and Gwen and all of the guests who are brave enough. I also love getting to know all of these precious kids, including Andy. I love each and every one. Thank you.

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