Overcoming Heartache: Debi Yohn’s ‘Losing Your Only’

Welcome to another year with Ascroft, eh?. For the first post of the year I’m hosting author, Debi Yohn, to share an excerpt from her new book, Losing Your Only The book deals with learning to cope with the death of an only child. We all lose people we love during the course of our lives. I’m an only child who has outlived both my parents. Of course their deaths saddened me but they were to be expected. It is the natural cycle of life. It’s more difficult to accept the death of your only child.

Firstly, Debi, would you tell us a bit about yourself and why you wrote the book.

Debi: My current book, Losing Your Only is written to the Parents or Loved Ones that have lost an only child.  This book is written from my own personal experience.  When my only child was killed in a car accident, my life took a different path.  I was living in Shanghai China.  He was going to college in USA.  In my grief, I discovered that my purpose is to motivate, and support parents and all clients live to their life potential. Losing a child is horrific, losing an only child brings it up a notch.  So what do we do with that kind of experience?  We have decisions to make.  We can live or we can die with the child.  I decided not only to live, but to thrive.


Excerpt from the book’s introduction:

I have a blessed life.

It’s 2003. I’m living in Shanghai, China, where I work as a therapist. I’m married to my childhood sweetheart, Larry. We have an amazing son, Levi, who is a college student in the United States.

Levi is my heart. Levi is my Only.

Then at 2.30AM on November 17 the phone rings. A voice on the other side of the world tells me there has been a tragic accident. In a second, everything in my life changes.

We have different words to describe those who survive the death of someone close. When a woman loses her husband, she becomes a widow. When a man loses his wife, he becomes a widower. Children who lose their parents become orphans. But what do we call parents that lose their only child? Losers?

My name is Debi Yohn and I am a loser. My only child was killed in a horrible car accident when he was twenty. He was driving home with his girlfriend from Disney World, where they’d gone to spend her twenty-first birthday. The accident was no fault of Levi’s. According to witnesses, he was cut-off by cars racing on the Florida Turnpike, and as a young driver he over-compensated to avoid them causing his truck to roll.

All of my hopes and dreams, all of my joy, all of my plans for the future were gone. There would be no grandchildren, no college graduation, no young people hanging out at the house, no marriage celebration, no random phone calls, no sweaty hugs, and no more “I love you, Mom.” It was as if an eraser had wiped my future right off the white board.

When I was casting around for advice after Levi passed, I didn’t find any written guides on coping with loss of your only child. This book is based on my experiences, but it is not a memoir. I wrote it for other parents who are attempting to walk down the brutal, unfamiliar path you are forced to tread when your only child dies.

The pain of losing a child—especially an only child—is piercing and real and does not really go away. It morphs and evolves but never really leaves your heart. We cannot make the pain or grief disappear, but we can work through them. This process takes a long time.

Through this book I hope to accompany you in your grief, and save you some of the pain by sharing my successes and mistakes in dealing with the journey that began the day I lost my Only.

About the author: Dr. Debi Yohn is an international psychologist, author and speaker with 32 years experience living and working on 3 continents. Her work has taken her to Saudi Arabia for 7 years and Shanghai, China for 8 years. While in Shanghai, she founded “Lifeline Shanghai” a “911” service to help English speakers in need. She currently lives fulltime in Huatulco, Mexico and travels the world working with her clients, writing and managing her diversified business and charitable interests. To read Dr Debi’s full bio, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/12/02/dr-debi-yohn-biography/

About the book: This is a very personal story which helped Dr Yohn discover her purpose – to motivate and support parents and others to live life to their highest potential. The digital version of the book is currently available at http://losingyouronly.com/get-the-book/. If you would like to be notified about the upcoming print and audio release, please visit this page and send Dr Debi your name and email address.


About Dianne Ascroft

I'm a Canadian writer and author, living in Britain. My first novel, 'Hitler and Mars Bars' was released in March 2008. More information abo
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3 Responses to Overcoming Heartache: Debi Yohn’s ‘Losing Your Only’

  1. Thanks Dianne for posting my book, Losing Your Only. I am hopeful that it will help other parents or families that have lost an only child. Levi was my only and I want to pass on what this experience has taught me. It has been an amazing journey.

    For the Love of Levi.
    Dr. D

  2. Pingback: Losing Your Only by Dr Debi Yohn — Virtual Blog Tour « Promo 101 Promotional Services

  3. Pingback: Share an Excerpt from Losing Your Only by Dr Debi Yohn « Promo 101 Promotional Services

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