A Word to Describe…

My SIL posted on fb the other day something more eloquently stated than this, but I think this quote is more in keeping with my feelings at times during the past year: (quoting an episode of the television show “Six Feet Under”)

“You know what I find interesting? If you lose a spouse, you’re called a widow, or a widower. If you’re a child and you lose your parents, then you’re an orphan. But what’s the word to describe a parent who loses a child? I guess that’s just too [*&^%$#@] awful to even have a name.”

I first responded to my SIL, ‘lost.’ And, ‘lost’ is how I would most describe myself over much of the last year.  Yet, the wilderness was a choice that I made.  I haven’t reconciled all of that in my head or in my heart yet, but I know that I stopped holding tight to the LORD’s hand, but He never let me go.  So, although the word ‘lost’ fit, it certainly will not work as a word to fill the purpose here.

A writer at http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003846.html pointed out that losing a child was once a fairly common occurrence (and still is in many places around the world).  There is no term for it because so many people have experienced such a loss, and quantifying and qualifying all the variables would be too much for a single word.  Well, understanding the etymological reasons for a lack of a word doesn’t satisfy me.

As I researched what word might be used (has been used by others), I came across http://kotapress.com/section_home/dictionary_A-B.htm.  There, I found a whole glossary of grieving terms.  The writer used the adjective/verb ‘bereft’ as a noun to label such a parent.  Seems fitting since bereft as an adjective means ‘deprived,’ yet, somehow I know in my heart of hearts that is simply not true.

I have not been deprived.  I have been blessed abundantly.  My eyes have seen the glory of the LORD; I saw it in the face of my child who breathed only 63660 seconds.  I have been awed by the power of life, the power of hope, the power of death, the power of grief, the power of friendship, the power of redemption.  No, I am not bereft–either as a noun, an adjective, or a verb.

At http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110126005722AAYHmHj I came across this:

A writer who explained how the etymology for the word “widow” stemmed from the Sanskrit word for “empty.” She suggested that a parent whose child died be called a “Vilomah,” which is Sanskrit for “against a natural order.” That would be apt.

Yet, is it?  Is it against the natural order for death to occur?  Is it against the plan of God that we watch our loved ones, our little ones, suffer?  No, it is exactly because of the natural order that this occurs.  The word natural, when used to describe people, can, to me, refer to their base, worldly, sinful flesh.  It is BECAUSE OF, not AGAINST, that natural sinfulness that this world brings us heartache and death.

So, what word do I suggest? Just as I considered myself blessed to be a mother to my four other sons, I will call myself ‘blessed.’ Blessed because Jedidiah existed.  Blessed because I have seen people moved by his story.  Blessed because I heard his little noises.  Blessed because I got to bring him comfort when he suffered. Blessed because I have memories of beauty untainted by the eye.  Blessed because Jedidiah was, and still is, my son.

2 Comments to “A Word to Describe…”

  1. Amen, i love this post. I love your heart. I love you, I love you all!

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