I scanned my mind for the word appropriate for the conditions.
...And there was nothing.
I wanted a word like schadenfreude or han, something that would encompass a concept, a word to convey the feeling of; I'm tremendously saddened and sorry this is getting ready to happen, and yet I'm also grateful. Grateful that your loved one won't be having this awful reality, and neither will your family, that this has been so hard on for so long. But
That seems a shame for a feeling fairly often applicable when it comes to death. We'd all like to (and have our loved ones) peacefully slip away in our (their) sleep,
Mine came in the middle of the night five years ago. Before that night I had never wanted anything more than for my Papa, who had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, to be with me as long as he could. But then I heard Papa shriek in pain as the hospice nurse attempted a procedure. I remember sitting at the dining room table as it rang out through the house (a sound I'll apparently never be able to unhear) and immediately changing my want to Papa going right that instant. As much as I loved and wanted him with me always, I wanted him not to have this as his reality more. I didn't wish for him to die, but I stopped wishing for him to stay. My prayers were exclusively for comfort and an easy passing. I held his hand as he took his last breath. I was beyond heartbroken. But I was also relieved.
Unfortunately, long is the list of diseases and medical conditions that at the end devolve to a tipping point where death
Grief is a topic that has popped up several times in my circle 'o friends lately. (Mainly, folks bein' awful at it, if I'm bein' honest.
We Need More Grief Words - Exhibit B:
Later in the week I was hanging out with a few other friends when my friend (code name) Arrowsmith and I were discussing her late son. Over an order of remembrance-y shots I asked how old her son would have been? (Although he left as a toddler he would have been 15 now.) As we talked about him she off-handedly mentioned how tricky it is now when strangers ask how many kids she has. (She and her hubby are knee deep in raising two beautiful pre-schoolers [1 girl/1 boy].) A perfectly normal question people ask other people, but when your answer is a story and not a concise number, and your story is every parent's nightmare scenario, it's a somewhat stressful query. Not to mention, this is often some random ass stranger you'll never cross paths with again --of course ya don't wanna lie, but who wants to detail your life story to a stranger? I'd imagine most parents who have lost a child (of which when I look around at my circle of peeps, there are far too many) have found themselves struggling for the least explain-y explanation possible. Arrowsmith then, super astutely, went on to say, "when you lose your husband or wife you're a widower/widow, but there isn't a word for when your child dies."
As I like to be 'part of the solution' I offer, Kidower.
- kid·ow·er /ˈkidō(ə)r/ (noun) a parent who has lost a child to death
It's telling about our collective relationship with death that we have more words for cell phone picture takin' (selfie, delfie, ussie [
Greif is dicey enough to navigate. (Both on the first-hand-going-through-it and the trying-to-support-someone-going-through-it side.) The lack of language we have for it doesn't lend itself to making it any easier. Or saying the right thing.