A Vilomah: Life After Emmett...

Updated: Nov 25, 2019


Reposted from the Kim Family's Blog

Vilomah is a word for a parent whose child has died.  I will attempt to explain why this word has been such a comfort to me. 

People need identities and are constantly in search of their identity.  Although I am very confident in the fact that my first and foremost identity is a child of God, made in the image of God, I have many other non-primary identities. I am a wife, I am a mother, a daughter, an aunt, etc.

One thing I have discovered about grief is you always want a label on what you are going through.  It's funny how people usually hate labels and want to steer clear away from them.  I have found more and more, in my grief journey, that I welcome all sorts of labels.  I even find myself craving labels.  I find it very comforting to know that what I am going through is not completely abnormal, in fact, it's normal!  Not only is it normal, it has a name, i.e. 'anger.'  It somehow lets you know that you are not crazy, or going crazy, and that what you are going through is completely normal.  Well, people feel normal, whatever 'normal' is, when they can identify with something or someone.

There is a term for most bereaved people.  ("Bereaved" by the way, means 'to be torn apart,' or 'to have special needs.') For example, there is the word 'widow' for those who have lost his/her spouse, the word 'orphan' for those who have lost their parents, etc.  But there seems to be no word for a parent who has experienced the death of a child.  It's not an official term, but I am thankful to Karla Holloway for finding this word.  Vilomah is a Sanskrit word that literally means, "against a natural order."  A child should never die before their parents.  It's absolutely crazy and just flat out wrong to have to bury your own child.  Well, not that anything after burying my own child will ever bring me comfort, (unless it's being reunited with my beloved son Emmett again) there is some sort of tiny comfort in knowing that there is a word for me to identify with.  And if there is a word for parents who have lost their child (though it has not been officially coined), that just unfortunately means there are quite a few parents out there...perhaps more than we can fathom.

This is why I started this blog...to know that I am not alone and to let other parents know that they are not alone.





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