Friday, April 8, 2011


Lack of a word for bereaved parents has become a perseveration and just this morning it occurred to me, perhaps there hasn't been the need for such a definition until now. The word orphan for example dates back to the late 1400's, and it appears the term orphanage wasn't documented until the late 1800's amid the industrial revolution. What to call an institute for parentless children seemingly created out of necessity for the time. Even more recent words like parentcraft from the 1930's evolved into parenting, which wasn't recognized until the 1950's. I know, fully aware of my geek out moment and moving on.

I was thinking about the mortality rate of children during or within a year of childbirth 20, 50, 100 years ago and how our expectation of life saving measures morph in perpetual motion with medical advancement. As our knowledge of disease and genetics improve so does the potential treatment. In this day and age it's hard to imagine that yes, there are still diseases, conditions, syndromes, without a cure. I think about my grandparents who grew up on farms and their understanding of death at such an early age. The circle of life was a fact of life, may not have made it any easier to cope with loss, but it wasn't a shocking or unprecedented event either. As we become more urbanized, sheltered from the throws of nature, I'm willing to bet more people look to "The Lion King" for explanation rather than draw from an actual experience with death. Yes, bereaved parents are less and less common {thankfully}, which also means fewer people are able to relate. A vicious cycle.

If trends in music, mashups, create new sounds by blending pre-recorded tracks together, surely there is a similar market for new words too. So here goes. 

Starting with the definition: 
bereaved parent, to mourn the death of a child

Bereaved from Latin orbus, Greek orphos "bereft" and PIE (Finnish) orbh "to change allegiance, to pass from one status to another." 
Parent from Latin parentem (parens, pare) "to bring forth, give birth to, produce."
Mourn from Old Norse murna "to grieve over the dead," PIE (Finnish) smer "to remember," and mer "to die, wither." 

Possible Words: 


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