What is the term for a parent who loses a child?
If you lose your partner you become known a widow or widower.
If a child loses their parents they become a orphan.
But what do you call a women who had lost her child.
I often find myself struggling when asked how many children I have, do I say four and then when asked more about them explain that one will be forever 9 and then wait through that uncomfortable silence that tears at my heart. Or do I just say three and not acknowledge my beautiful Livvy.
What about those parents who children didn’t stay. Is a woman who faced a still birth still a mom?
It’s a hard and the worlds terminology needs to catch up and allow us to honour our children.
I do always say I have four children in fact I am a mom of 6, two may be in heaven but they are still hold pieces my heart.
To the parents whose child never got to stay you are still mom and dad and nothing can take that from you and if someone tries send them my way.
I mean if your brother or sister died do you stop being their sibling. If your parents die do you stop being someone’s son and daughter. Of course not.
So I want a name I want something to honour my loss and cherish the part my child still holds in my life.
I asked my friends how they would describe themselves now they have faced the ultimate loss. Broken parents, heartbroken, missing, all truly valuable words but for me it’s not enough.
Then I came across this
The word we are looking for, she says, “must be a quiet word, like our grief, but clear in its claim.” The word “widow,” which means “empty” in Sanskrit, is such a word, and that same language, she suggests, provides another for us to borrow: “vilomah.” This means “against a natural order,” she writes. “As in, the gray-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in our children should not precede us in death.”
K F C Holloway
Vilomah, this word sits right with me.
Against the natural order.
I should have never had to bury my child. To walk away from a hospital room never to hold them again. No parent should have to plan their child’s funeral.
It’s against the natural order.
So maybe I am a Vilomah a word that may never be understood but is held as truth in my heart.