A friend recently posted a meme on my Facebook, that said something along the lines of ” when a husband or wife loses their spouse, they are called a widow. When a child loses their parents they are called an orphan. But there is no name for a parent who has lost a child”.
I thought about this for a while, and tried to come up with something appropriate.
The word ” dead” was on the tip of my tongue, but that was just the negative energy I’m feeling today leaking out of me. While I don’t deny there have been many moments that I have felt that being dead might not be a bad thing under the circumstances, I know that my living children, my spouse, my parents and sisters, my friends and my dog and cat might not agree. So the word ” dead”, did not make the cut.
A “shell” might be an appropriate moniker. Many days I feel that the very essence of who I once was before all of this, is gone and all that remains is an exoskeleton that once protected the soul that lived inside. But I’m neither a snail nor a lobster and my skeleton lies beneath my skin. So ” shell” doesn’t work.
I do feel like a ghost at times. I feel like I’m not fully in this realm of the Living. But I’m not fully in the realm of the Dead either. The part of my heart that went with Sam is there with him ; and the part that belongs to my other children is here. Does that put me in pergatory? Am I a ghost trapped between two worlds?
There really is no word for us: just as there are no words that comfort us. There are many words to describe how we feel: broken; shattered; fragmented; lost; numb; destroyed come to mind. It is unfathomable to any parent that they would ever face the day that their child would not be in. And when that child chooses the day? Well that just puts us into a whole new category. If we can’t come up with a name for a parent who has lost a child, we definitely can’t come up with a name for a parent who has lost a child to suicide.
So who are we then?
Many have said to me when offering their condolences that ” there are just no words”. And they are right. There really are no words for this. There is no real defining title to give to us. None of this should be real. This is what nightmares are made of. I think that there is no name for a parent who has lost a child, because it’s something that no one wants to ever even think about. No one wants to write down, or come up with a word for something that is too terrifying to even consider. It’s the last thing that anyone wants to allow to cross their mind.
I am Judi. And I am still Sam’s Mom and I forever will be. Thats the only name I need. I am still the mother of four beautiful children. The difference now, is that one of them lives in heaven. That is all that I need to define who, or what I am.