When a husband loses a wife, he is called a widower. When a wife loses a husband, she is called a widow. When a child loses his parents, he is called an orphan. But there is no word for a parent who loses a child.
I like that.
There is just not a word – in any language – that embodies the unfathomable anguish of a parent who is lamenting his or her child. There are no proper words, slang words, or even curse words that adequately describe the torment of having a child ripped from your arms.
There is no word to define a daddy who would sever his arm, climb the highest mountain, or dive in that grave headfirst to spend one more minute with his child.
There is no word to depict a mama who would give everything and everyone, sans her surviving children, to throw her arms around the bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh one more time.
Just as there is no word to describe the love a parent has for a child, there is no word to describe a father or mother who has buried one.
And perhaps that is as it should be.
We who have put our children in deathbeds and lowered them into the ground don’t want such a word to exist. We don’t want to hear it spoken. We don’t want to read it in print. And we certainly don’t want anyone else to experience it.
There is no word for those of us who have buried a child or children, yet you know each of us by name and call us beloved. Thank you.
Thank you that our children’s deaths didn’t catch you by surprise and thank you for entering our suffering and suffering with us, even when we cannot feel you.
Thank you for Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection so that we may be forgiven and live happily ever after, even though life this side of heaven hurts.
Please don’t let other dads and moms have to bury their children.
Please, Father, please help us to comfort one another, use our grief for your good, and make us more like you.