A parent who loses a child in death remains a parent forever
There is no name for my situation in this world. My two sons are deceased and I am a childless parent. There is no name for a parent without children.
The name of a child whose parents have died is an orphan. The name of a spouse whose husband or wife has died is widowed or widowed. Is it because it is so painful and unimaginable that no one could bear to name the parents whose children died?
JK Rowling writes in his “Harry Potter” series of novels that the villainous Voldemort, considered the most powerful and dangerous dark wizard of all time, is so terrifying that he is called “He-who-does- shall-not-be-named.” But Albus Dumbledore, the director of Harry Potter, said, “Call him Voldemort, Harry.” Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.
Identifying and naming your fear is the first step towards understanding your fear. I also believe there is power in naming your grief. This is the first step towards understanding your grief. A nameless sorrow remains vague and nebulous and grows bigger because it is not defined by a name. When you can name your grief clearly, it can connect you to new ways of thinking that will open doors for you.
Being a parent and having children changes eternity. Nothing can change this fact.
I want to call myself and other parents who have lost a child “semper parente”. It is Latin and when translated into English means “always parent”. This term conveys an understanding of the infinite nature of being a parent. It changes the paradigm of parenthood and expands the timeline beyond this world. Being a parent and having children changes eternity. Nothing can change this fact. “Semper parente”, always a parent. This name binds me and my children in this world and in eternity.
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It’s fitting that a novel about an orphan helps me understand the need for a name for myself. Harry’s parents were killed by Voldemort when he was a baby, and his parents’ love enabled Harry to survive Voldemort’s attack. With the help of magic, Harry’s parents bring courage and support to Harry in his ongoing battles with Voldemort. Using the reverse logic, Harry’s parents are “semper parentibus” or “always parents” in eternity. They are linked to Harry in his world and in eternity.
It is also fitting that semper parente is Latin. Latin is considered a dead language because it is no longer a spoken language. But it is a language that has turned into Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian. Latin is used today in technical fields where clarification is important, such as in medical terminology. Clarification is important in choosing a name for a parent whose child has died. Semper parente defines me and transforms the meaning of my parenthood into infinity.
Writer Karen Quandt is a semper relative. She can be reached at [email protected].
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