Child Loss

When My Child Died, Part of Me Died, Too!

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that they will never forget hearing those words, “I’m so sorry.” Those three words can change a parent’s life and turn their world upside down in a split second. When I heard those words being said to me on the phone about my son I truly believe that in that instant part of me died, too. 

My son Mike lived a thousand miles away with his wife and three children so I only got to see him a few times a year. I cherished every visit, every phone call, every picture he sent……..any moment that linked me to him was special. The call I got the night that he died was one no parent ever wants to get. “I’m so sorry. They tried. They tried for over an hour. But, nothing could bring back Mike.”

In that instant, I know for certain that my own heart stopped. Those words sliced through me, and I literally fell to the floor screaming in agonizing pain. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to breathe. My world was suddenly spinning out of control and nothing made sense. My ears were hollow and echoed as I continued to scream. I threw the phone across the room as I crumbled into a heap on the floor.

“My God. Why? Why did this happen? Why did Mike have to die? No. It’s not true. It’s not true!  It can’t be true!”

It was true, though. My son crumbled over of a massive heart attack and he was unable to be revived. Just like that his life ended without warning.

I will always be a broken mother. It has been three years now since Mike died, and life has continued on as is the case for all of us left behind. But, I’m not the same. I’ll never return to be the person I was before my son died. Oh, I’m able to smile now. And, I enjoy the sunshine. I’m cooking again, so that tells me I’m returning to life. But, so much is different now. Every moment of every day I’m acutely aware of the fact that my son died. There is a piece of my heart that is missing and I can feel the emptiness in my heart constantly.

I’m sad. Not the kind of sad that cries all of the time. I did that for the first year after Mike died. But, I’m internally sad. It’s the kind of sad that sits with your heart and whispers to you constantly, “Your son is gone. Your son died and he’s never coming back.” I hate the constant whispering in my ear! It’s always there reminding me of what I sometimes try to forget for a few brief moments of the day.

I’m fearful of this happening again. I have other children and I have grandchildren. When they are sick, I’m so afraid. Will one of them die, too? I’m never totally at peace because there’s always that fear lurking in my mind. “If it happened once, it can happen again.” And, I know that’s true and it scares me so much. It scares me so very, very much!

I don’t trust in life. I used to be so carefree trusting that each day would be absolutely beautiful. I trusted in the belief that I could get through anything that life threw my way. Now………..I don’t know. I can’t trust in a life that has taken part of my heart away. I don’t know if I could live through this again, and so I fill my heart with doubt.

I have questions. So many questions are circling through my head. Did Mike know he was dying? Was Mike in pain? Was Mike aware of the paramedics working on him? Was Mike feeling ill before he died? Were there signs of his heart problems that were overlooked? When will I see Mike again? Where is he right now? Is he able to see us right now? Can he hear me when I talk to him? There are so many questions, and so few answers.

I’ve changed since my son died. There is an emptiness in part of me that feels dark and lonely and afraid and so cold. That’s the part of my heart that died, and like Mike, it’s never coming back again. Never will I be that carefree, trusting woman who believed that all of life was good. I now have tasted the sadness of the death of a child and I’ve tasted the death of part of me, too.

It’s all so very sad. 

This is a journey that I wish on no one.  I pray constantly for those traveling this path with me. May we some how  learn to live with part of us gone forever. The part of me that died went with my son.

After all, I am his mother.

With special love to everyone who is grieving the loss of a precious child.


Child Loss – the Heartbreak and the Hope — a book on finding hope amid the ashes of child loss

Hope 365 – Meditations for the Grieving Heart –  one hope-filled meditation for every day of the year

Silent Grief – Finding Your Way Through the Darkness – a book especially written for early child loss



  • Wendy

    This touched my soul and resonated with me in a powerful way that I couldn’t express myself.
    My son died tragically at age 22, one year ago. I wonder all of the same heartbreaking things. The thoughts that he was alone or in pain or scared will haunt me as his mom forever. 😞

    • Clara Hinton

      Wendy, I’m so very sorry. These questions are horrible, aren’t they? As moms, we can’t bear the thought of our child being alone without us especially during death. These are questions without answers, and that makes it so painful. My love to you. Again, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son. 🙁

      • Joe

        My god, Clara, this is so spot on. Three and a half years ago my son, 15, went away to the mountains for the weekend with a family and 3 friends. Only one of the boys survived the car accident at the hands of an underage driver who survived. We all know that parental grieving is such an individual thing, but you’ve nailed the commonalities brilliantly. The change in myself is so real. Most of the people around me understand it, but there’s still a face I put on in daily life that belies the constant pain and relentless awareness of my loss. Like you I was a mostly happy-go-lucky guy until that moment. That’s only one of the many things that changed. Thank you for so elequently articulating so many of those hard-to-describe feelings.

        • Clara Hinton

          Joe, I’m so very sorry to hear about your son. Such trauma and pain — like nothing else. You’re so right — we learn to put on that “survival mask” so that we can get through the day, but that mask never can hide what’s going on inside of us.

          Thank you so much for your comment. It helps so much to know that others understand.

    • Leticia Hughes

      Wendy, I felt that way too. I loss my oldest son 6 yrs ago on his way to work. He had a heart attack and rolled his suburban . My son was only 37 yrs old and shy of 2 weeks before his 38th birthday. He was a single father of 5 which we are now raising them. My son was such a great father. He took his children everywhere with him unless he was working. My thoughts were, Did he suffer, Did he called out for me, Was he scared, Was he in pain the night before? Did he know he had heart problems?. This is something I will always wonder and it makes me so sad. I always protected my children and this time I couldn’t. I pray for all of us to give us the strength. I too worry about my other two grown children and now my grandkids. My life has forever change and will never be the same. I still struggle and have my moments where I just need my baby back and just knowing I will never see or hear his voice in this lifetime kills me. I am so sorry for all of us that have had to be in this horrible club that none of us wanted to be in. I fine myself now helping others, whether it’s families or friends to understand we will always have this emptiness and to be supportive and know we can never move on. We can move forward and trying to take each day as we have to learn to take baby steps and learn to live without them in this lifetime. God bless us all. ❤️🙏🏽😇❤️

  • Zeta

    Wendy, I can relate to what you’re feeling and going through… Lost my son Ruan, age 26 on 26 October 2017 in a car accident. That day changed me as person for ever… My outlook on life has changed, my relationship with family and friends changed… I became secluded…. I changed into somebody I dont even know anymore when I look in the mirror – I have a broken heart, a feeling of don’t care for earthly things, a feeling of nothing matters anymore… I carry on like a robot to survive this for my daughter and husbands sake… But I’m dying inside…. Bce of all the unanswered questions going through my mind…

    • Michele

      Zeta, I know exactly what you feel. I lost my 27 yr old son in a car accident on highway 27 on Easter Sunday April 16, 2017. All I can see is him being tossed around in that car until he’s ejected out the window. I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened as he was alone. I think that’s why I’m stuck in this nightmare and can’t grieve probably because I want to know the details of what happened. I did hire a Medium and it was AMAZING she let me record the session and I can listen to my son through her anytime. I can tell you Mediums are real and I thank God he blessed them with the ability to communicate with those in the afterlife. Praying for your healing.

  • Jackie Pitre

    Wow to read these and know I’m not alone in the feelings I have. My son died at the age of 19 in a horrible automobile accident. My life has forever changed and all those questions also haunt me daily.

  • Ellen Richardson

    I also lost my son Paul age 26 he ended his life though depression that was 14 years ago so I got my younger son Chris to live with myself and partner trying to keep him safe but last year in April I also lost Chris he was 35 years he took some street drugs it was something he didn’t know about didn’t know what it would do to him he didn’t mean to die he was on top of the world he loved life i wasn’t with my son Paul when he died but Chris was at home and I tried my best to save him i gave him CPR but it was too late I have no more children they were my babies and and I lost Paul I can’t remember how I coped but then to loose Chris it’s a big hole in side me both my son’s gone before me it’s not ment to be i have a granddaughter Chris little girl she lives with her mum and all the time if she’s not home at time when her mum tells her I panic I pray to god please keep her safe i know i will have to learn to cope with the loss of my two sons but it’s going to take the rest of my life so sorry for everyone who has lost a child but I know one day I will be back with my two sons Paul and Chris love them forever and miss them always

  • Thea Barella

    This so resonates with me. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Been almost 1 and a half years since my son died. I will never be the same. Now the oldest son is to have a triple bypass on the 22nd. Fear grips me that I may lose another part of myself.

    • Clara Hinton

      Thea, Oh, how much I understand what you’re saying about the fear that is gripping you with your son who will be having surgery. We live in so much fear once we go through the trauma of losing a child. Only a parent of child loss understands.

      My thoughts are prayers are with you and your son. I pray his surgery will be 100% successful. My love to you.

  • Cindy

    My child died. She was 29 overdosed 2009
    I’m so sick daily. So sorry for everyone’s child loss it is a hell no one should ever endure. ❤️

    • Clara Hinton

      Cindy, I’m so very sorry. You’re so right… parent should ever have to go through this kind of pain. We will endure heartache until we take our last breath. This is a loss that is impossible to explain. My many thoughts are with you.

  • Ano

    Losing a child is pain like no other.

    And yes, we change – a lot! For the first year I could not even recognize the woman in the mirror. But change is not always bad. It feels awful because it isn’t a slow or normal process over a long time, but rather it is thrust into your face when you really don’t want it. Getting to know the ‘new’ you takes time, and it takes time to love that person too. Much patience is needed when you grieve.

    It’s been six years since my son took his life. Dealing with the pain of loss enables you to move forward once again. We do get to live on, carrying our beautiful and precious children with us. Their spirit is just a breath away. He is now my teacher.

    • Clara Hinton

      Ano, I absolutely love what you’ve written! Thank you so much for your comments.

      We do learn to live again, and we get to write a new story within our brokenness. Many of us gain so many new insights about life and what is really important in life. I love the phrase “their spirit is just a breath away.” Beautiful! Thank you again!