Child Loss,  Healing after child loss,  Self-Care after child loss

I Can’t Do This Thing Called Child Loss!

If you’ve lost a child, there has come a moment when you’ve cried out in despair, “I can’t do this!  I can’t do this thing called child loss.  I want my child back.  I want life to go back to how it was when everything seemed okay.”

In chapter 4 of the book Child Loss – The Heartbreak and the Hope this feeling of despair is discussed in great detail. This is when the numb part of our loss begins to wear off and we begin feeling the raw pain of brokenness.  This is when we want to scream out saying, “This can’t be true!  This didn’t happen to my child.  This is all a very bad dream!”    For a long time following the loss of our child, we fight reality.  We try everything possible to convince ourselves that this didn’t really happen.  Our mind tends to go into shock mode and we have nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night confused and not knowing where we are.  We refuse to believe what happened because it’s too hard to believe.

Losing a child is the most difficult pain we will ever endure. 

I can remember the moment I realized that it was certain my son wasn’t coming back.  I cried out in a sound that didn’t even seem human.  I felt as though I was suffocating in my own tears.  I couldn’t breathe.

Worse yet, for a while I didn’t want to breathe.  I didn’t want to live in this much pain.

If you’ve lost a child, you understand.

So, how do we get through this?  How do we force ourselves to see the reality of the loss?  It’s a process.  Slowly.  Step-by-step we begin to fully grasp what has happened.  The progression back to life is a painfully difficult walk.  We have to learn how to give ourselves permission to love again.  To trust again.  To see beauty again.  To live again.

It also helps to find some way to take care of ourselves during this horrible tug-of-war of pain and grief.  If we don’t do some self-care, we can fall into a never-ending tunnel of darkness and despair outlined with severe depression.

Following the loss of my first son, Samuel, I suffered through years of depression.  I fell into a pit of despair and loneliness and it took years of hard work and great focus to get to a point where I could see some joy in life again.

I vowed I would never allow myself to get that physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted again.

And, then my son Mike died.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  And, the fear paralyzed me.  Fear that I wouldn’t be able to live though another death of a child. 

I knew from past experience that I had to “do something” to help keep me from falling into that pit of depression again.  I had to take better care of myself even when I didn’t want to see the light of another day.

I began doing something I had never done before.  I began taking yoga classes for grief.

I cannot tell you how helpful this has been!  Alex Howlett is the instructor, and she also happens to be my precious daughter.  Years ago, Alex suffered through terrible depression and she discovered yoga for grief and has become a certified yoga instructor.  You can find more of her online videos here.  Why not subscribe to her blog and keep updated on one way of helping you sleep better, and feel better overall?

Yoga has helped me to relax and sleep giving me a much-needed respite away from my deep grief! If I didn’t get some intermittent relief from this grief, I’m certain I would have fallen into the pit of depression again.


Does yoga and nature take away all of the pain of loss?  Absolutely not!  I know that my heart, like yours, will always ache.  I know that never again will my heart feel complete.  When we lose a child, we also lose a large part of ourselves.

But, as much as we fight it, life continues and we are left with the job of finding out how to live within our brokenness.  For me, yoga for grief and nature are helping.

I’d love to hear what is helping you as you travel along this journey of loss.  As we share, we’re also giving some much needed love and support to each other on this lonely journey of child loss.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you for caring.  Thank you for sharing.



To get your book, go here.  I know that the words in the book will help!  My love to each one.



  • Sandra Creel

    Thanks for your openness and honesty about your pain. It’s so true that you really don’t know the pain of child loss unless you have went thru it.

    • Clara Hinton

      Sandra, You’re so very welcome. I’ve found that the only way to have even an ounce of healing is to be open and honest about our feelings. That’s how we connect with others and there is so much support when we do that. My many thoughts are with you as we travel this difficult journey together.

  • Deborah Ann Abood

    Thanks for sharing these encouraging words Clara as well as suggestions. I feel that I go between the shock and numbness and starting to now acknowledge the reality. It all seems to hard so I dissociate from it all instead but then it comes back.

    • Clara Hinton

      Deborah, You’re so very welcome. You’ve brought up something that a lot of people do when experiencing any kind of shock/trauma — dissociate. That’s a normal reaction. I’m always so sorry to hear of the suffering of more and more parents and grandparents and siblings over child loss. This world has some very hard situations to deal with, and often we have to numb ourselves for a while just to get through. My many thoughts are with you. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  • Scooby Tackett

    Thank you for that. I started a small business doing something that I hate. That’s odd I know. I think I was dealing with being angry that my boy was gone. The more the job ate at me the less I felt my loss eating at me. That business is growing and I guess I am to. I’m not so affiliated with the things that I hate within the business. My daughter and I recently started Brazilian Jujitsu and Kick Boxing. In my youth, I had a passion for martial arts and it has brought me peace. I look forward to seeing my wife do something fit herself as well. She is trapped in a caregiver’s world. She cared for our son and just months after his passing her mother had a stroke and she has been there since. Prayers appreciated. I love being here, reading. Thank you again.

    • Clara Hinton

      I really appreciate your comment! You have a number of great points that I hope others will read, too. “I think I was dealing with being angry that my boy was gone.” Absolutely we go through that! I can’t tell you how many times I screamed the words, “Mike, how could you do this? How could you leave us?” There is an anger that we have that is part of our grieving. I think the martial arts will help you relieve so much pain — when we act out physically, we are also releasing so much internally. I hope, too, that your wife will find her special thing to do — Being a caregiver on top of losing a child is way too much for a person without having some way to release some of the pain.

      Thank you for your comments. I’m so glad that you are here!