Child Loss,  Explaining Child Loss,  Sibling Loss,  What to Say to a Grieving Parent

I Will NEVER Forget What Happened the Day After My Son Died

Child loss is traumatic.  I will always remember the phone call I received saying, “They tried.  They tried for over an hour, but they couldn’t save him.”

I was in bed at the time I received that life-changing call, and I can remember letting out moans that didn’t sound human.  I’ve tried to hide that moment in the recesses of my mind, but I can’t.  That’s just how trauma works.  Every time the phone rings in the evening, I jump.  My body tenses, and I begin screaming out, “Please, God!  Please don’t let this happen again!”         On May 22, 2015 my son Mike died very unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.  My grief is so raw yet, that I find it difficult to express the pain I feel right now.  Every day there are tears.  Every day there are thoughts of Mike, his wife, and his beautiful children.

Every day my heart weeps for the son that left this earth far, far too soon.  My heart weeps because I didn’t have the opportunity to say all the things I wanted to tell him — how proud I was of him, what an awesome husband and father he was, and how much we all looked up to him as a family.

My heart weeps because I miss him.  His entire family misses him.  His friends miss him.  And, it’s an agonizing, daily pain that doesn’t want to go away.

He left without any of us being able to say goodbye, and my heart is forever broken.

I cannot understand people who don’t “get it” about the pain of child loss.  In this very short video, please listen to what happened to me the day after my son died that has added to pain of my broken heart.


As long as I live, I will never forget what happened the day after my son died.  How is it possible to be that oblivious to the pain of losing a child?

I think sometimes people think because we’ve lost an adult child the pain isn’t the same as losing a young child.

I agree.  The pain isn’t the same.  But, there is still brokenness.  There is still trauma, shock, and deep, penetrating grief that lasts for a long, long time.

How sad that in this educated world in which we live there are still people who cannot grasp the depth of pain felt when a child dies.  How sad that parents, grandparents, and siblings are the ones who have to educate others about child loss!

How sad that anyone has to endure the loss of a child.

My love to each one who has visited this place today.  May your heart know that you are not alone in your pain.  May you feel the bond of friendship here.  May you know that there are others who sincerely care.

My love to you,



  • Kathy Smith

    Tears and love! Always missing my son Quentin! This will be the 6th thanksgiving and Christmas without him. March 23, will be the sixth anniversary of his death. He was 27 years old and his daughter was five….she is ten now….so hard! Always missing him and love my son forever! Quentin’s mom. 🙁

    • Clara Hinton

      Dear Kathy, I’m so very, very sorry. These anniversary dates are so very hard, and so often life moves on for others and we are left wondering if anyone else remembers or deeply cares. Blessings to you and your family as you remember your son Quentin this Thanksgiving and always!

  • Anita

    My prayers are with you, I feel your pain. We lost our 42 year old son Kevin on May 17, 2015 in a hit and run accident as well as his girlfriend, Dawn. We received phone call 10:30pm, but he was gone at 8:30 pm. Our ex daughter in law had to deliver the tragic news. Alyssa said “Kevin is gone”” and I said “gone, where has he gone?” Then she had to tell me the horrible news and his dad had to take the phone because I was screaming. Why oh why did this have to happen to our only son? God has the answer and we do not. And like you I have been having regrets about all the things I should have told him more often, how proud I was of him and what a great dad he is to his two lil boys, I told him but seems like not enough! But all have told me he knew just how much we loved him by the compassionate man he had become, loving son and loving dad! I loved him too much and the grief has taken a part of my heart with him. Prayers for you and his family! Healing from our gracious God!!

    • Clara Hinton

      Dear Anita, I’m so very, very sorry for the tragic loss of your son Kevin as well as his girlfriend Dawn. There is never an easy way to receive the news that our child is gone. The shock and trauma last a life-time. There are so many things that every parent wishes we had said to our child while living. Child loss sure does make it real that this life can change in the blink of an eye. Thank you so very much for your thoughts and prayers. Blessings to you, also.

  • Anne

    So good to hear that I,m not the only one feeling like this. I,m terrified of losing another child. It never goes away even though it’s been over 20 years since my daughter died. I can never relax with my two sons. If they are ill I panic and shake. Their father committed suicide so I have no one who can remember her with me. I feel alone and it’s not the sort of subject people want to discuss. We carry our pain inside but it’s the greatest pain I,ve ever felt.

    • Clara Hinton

      Anne, It’s an awful feeling to live on edge always wondering what today will bring. There seems to be a cloud that hangs overhead every day as a reminder of what could happen. Child loss strips us of our innocence to all of life. You’ve had an added trauma with the death of your children’s father by suicide — such a difficult death leaving so many unanswered questions. May God bless us all with an extra measure of peace as we walk this journey called child loss.

  • Reeves

    I feel for you my son was only 20 when he passed 11yrs ago7/18/2004 while I was away on vacation. This haunts me daily the grief never really goes away You have lost a part of yourself. I do not try to hide talking about him we still have conversations about him like he is still here. I won’t say the pain get better or easier but you will learn how to live again somewhat. Buddy was my second child loss My first was one of my twins in 9/6/1982 which I really never grieved over and when he died that just opened up all them old wounds. Maybe someday I will live like everyone else does but for now they are the first I think about in the AM and the last before bed. I always wonder what if…

  • Donna Almanza

    Today my daughter would have turned 43. She left us on Christmas Day 2013. Although I cry everyday this time of year is the worst with her birthday and Christmas. She battled a rare form of cancer for 22 years. I honestly don’t know how she endured all the suffering. She was a single Mom and raised a beautiful daughter who is now an elementary school teacher and a beautiful tribute to her Mother. Because her cancer was so rare there was no funding for research, 9 years ago she started a foundation having an annual walk raised almost $300,000.00 that is donated to the UVA. She lives on because of all the wonderful things she did, always putting other before herself.

    • Clara Hinton

      Donna, I’m so very, very sorry to hear of your daughter’s battle with cancer and to hear of her death. It’s so painful to watch our children struggle in life — we are always wishing that we were the ones with the pain and not our children.

      What an absolutely beautiful act of love to have begun a foundation donated to research!!!!! Your daughter’s life and memory will live on forevermore!

  • Merna Black

    I so needed to hear that, cause I thought I was going crazy. I didn’t know what I’m feeling is a normal grief process.

  • Joann

    You speak to honest truth. I to lost my son suddenly with no warning. He was just 23 years old. why walking home from a party he was struck and killed by a speeding police car. His friend was concerned that he had walked home so she came to our home looking for my son. So needless to say I went to see if I could find him to bring him home only to come upon the accident and see my son lying in the street. That vision haunts me everyday. Since we have a wrongful death suit filed I have learned that I can not sue for MY pain and suffering because it is something that can not be proven in court, are they kidding me, any person with a heart should know that I am in pain and have suffered since his death. Just thought that as a parent who has lost the most important person in my life would be in pain would be understandable to everyone. thank you for your post they have be very helpful for me. Sincerely Joann

  • paula

    I lost my 19yrs old son 9mths ago today on a Thursday (which is the worst day of the week for me now ) .. I found my son in his bedroom I was home alone and till this day my heart I think literally stops everytime I come home from work and no one’s here.. the people I thought would be here the minute word got out took days .. some weeks.. some not at all.. this site has helped me in so many ways..

  • Alison

    It has been almost three years since I lost my 21 year old son. I discovered his body in the bathroom as a result of an accidental overdose. Having to make the determination that my son was gone was surreal. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. Ever!!

  • Joann Hughes

    Dear Clara, thank you for sharing your story about the day after. I understand that people and work places don’t get it. I had to help put on the company Christmas party for my work only 5 short months after I lost my 22 year old daughter to cancer. I didn’t even celebrate with my own family, we went away for christmas. People think we should be back to normal, but as you know there is no normal ever again. Just a routine that we must get use to without our child, not something I ever wanted to do. Thank you for all your amazing post to our page. I appreciate it very much. Prayers to all of us that understand the pain. Joann

  • Karen

    Thank you for sharing Clara. I am sure it is hard for you to try and help others while still going through your own grief walk (s) .
    Since Daniel passed away I have given up my job and I feel to put it in a way people can understand ” like a dead person walking” I do the things needed to function in life and support my dear husband who feels the same as I do, and our children that are left but I have literally died inside myself.
    I feel the age is immaterial as we have all brought that child into this world and nurtured him/her ( as a mother and a father) and our child who has passed way and gone home to heaven is still OUR child that we loved and cared for.
    God bless you as you reach out and show love to us all
    Karen NZ xx

  • Karen NZ

    I wanted to add that we lost most of our “friends immediately following Daniel’s accident then death and now 13-1/2 months on some of the very few we have left have now fallen away as once the 1 year mark passed they thought we should be “getting back to normal”!!!! It is only having contact with others who are going through the same grief that we can cope day in and day out. We truly understand WHY some parents would take their own life over losing a child or a marriage breaking up. Praise the Lord that He helps us.

  • Tracy Bergin Huey

    Thank you SO much for sharing this.
    I’ve been following too I since 2010 after my Son Joshua died in January of that year. I’ve found joy again (baby steps) and can finally breathe a bit better however as you always make this point, the triggers are still there. His birthday and holidays are the hardest as most of us note. I was trying to NOT focus on his angeldate however the harder I try the harder it IS. So as I’ve done in these last 5years I’ve learned I’ve got to STILL take each day as it comes….forever in my heart my Joshua Michael….our sweet Bozopete 9/10/84-1/7/2010
    Thank you again Clara ❤

  • Susan Wehrle

    We just lost our son, Mikey, who was 18. He was killed in an accident early Easter morning on a Houston highway. We used to live north of Houston for nine years. Two years ago, we were moving back to Ohio. Mikey did not want to move. He wanted to finish high school with the friends he had grown up with. We ended up letting him go back to finish the second semester of his senior year. But three months later, he was dead. We feel that if we hadn’t let him go, he would still be with us. Mikey had such a great future ahead of him. He was very well liked by friends, teachers and anyone who had met him. Extremely intelligent, yet had a good sense of humor. Scored an 800 on the math portion of the SATs. Was all set to go to University of Pittsburgh to study pre-med. Mikey was looking forward to coming back to Ohio. He and his sister weren’t very close during high school, but their relationship was getting better. We could see that they were on the road to becoming best friends. Too add to our suffering, we lost another child 22 years ago. Tommy was our first-born child. He was stillborn, delivered at full term. I thought if I could survive the death of a child, I could survive anything. I had no idea that the anything would be another child’s death. Our daughter, Sarah, is now an only child. My husband and I are each a spouse and a parent. We have each other to relate to. A parent’s grief is different than that of a sibling’s grief. Sarah wishes she had other siblings so she would have their support. Right now she wants to spend time with her friends, which I totally get. Whatever is going to help her get through this, then it’s okay as long as it isn’t self-destructive. I don’t know how I’m going to go on. I have to go on for my daughter, but it’s tough. I am afraid that I won’t be able and even though I am still living, it will be as if I am dead. Then what good am I to Sarah? I can still hear my son’s voice and see his face. He visited us during spring break three weeks ago. I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever see him. I thank God we had a wonderful week with him. I spoke to him on the phone just eight or nine hours before he died. I will never forget our last conversation. I miss you so much Michal Thomas Wehrle, July 9, 1997 to March 27, 2016. It’s just so unfair.

    • Clara Hinton

      Susan, When I hear things like this my heart breaks. It really does. As parents, we go through the “if onlys” a million and one times. We keep revisiting those last decisions, those last moments, the last time, etc. You did what you thought was right for your son. You allowed him to finish out school with his friends which is what the majority of parents would have done. Who wants to see their child move away from their best friends at a critical time in their life? You did what you thought was best. Please don’t ever blame yourself for what happened. You had no control over the accident. Again, I’m so very, very sorry. It makes it very rough for your daughter — sibling grief is something rarely talked about but it’s so huge in the lives of brothers and sisters. If you read this, I hope that you’ll buy the book I just wrote, “Child Loss: The Heartbreak and the Hope” as I feel it will really help you walk down this path of child loss. You can buy the book here: I think the book will also help your daughter as she struggles through the loss of her brother. I have also lost a stillborn son Samuel and an adult son Mike. There are days when the grief is overwhelming and I know that the grief will be with me all of the days of my life. It’s our job to learn how to live again within our brokenness. Not easy, for sure! But, please believe me when I say there is hope! You’re right — very, very right. Life is very unfair. And, that hurts to the very center of our being. I’m so glad you’ve found this blog. I hope there are things here that will help you. And, I hope the book will help you, too. I will be doing some workshops in your area, so who knows? Maybe there will be a day not too far from now when we can meet. My love to you!