There isn’t a word for that

If you lose your husband you are a widow. If you lose your parents, you are an orphan, but there is no word I know for when you lose a child. I think it’s because it is the unspeakable.

One year ago I stood in airport holding placard with scrawled name and I held strangers tight and my tongue swelled to ten times its normal size as I tried to find the answers that I didn’t know.

“We just talked to her this morning”

The lights were too bright when we arrived and I stood at threshold of door as father went and sat next to cold daughter and my mamma heart jumped up and down in my chest shouting “no” on their behalf but I stood calmly beside eyes all tear filled, tongue all thick.

One year later we stand at new memorial. Wind blows icy and the crowd gathered tightly we try not feel icily right through to the bones…gathering tight to remind each other we are still not alone. We look at photograph of 18-year-old now a year gone and we lay down flowers and lit up candles. Tongue grows thick again as I hug parents and we all remember hospital lights.  I remember that life is but a breath and I’ve no time for lazy and no opportunity for regrets. Life is too short to not love well.

I went home and held daughter tight, grab son for dear life. I won’t ever stop.

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2 thoughts on “There isn’t a word for that

  1. oh. you are so right. not a name for it. i lost my 22-year-old nephew 14 months ago. it was sudden. unexpected. rocked. our. world. my brother and his wife are doing so well now. changed forever, of course. but doing well, considering. and in about 45 minutes a couple will bury their 16-year-old daughter (one of my former students) who was killed in a car wreck last week. parents shouldn’t have to bury children. holding on tight. that’s what we do.

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