I’m also a… what’s the word?

My oldest brother died on May 23, 2007, six months before John died. Just out of the blue. Existing one minute, not existing the next. No one saw it coming, most likely least of all him. Turned out his heart just stopped. He was a big man and he did have a big heart in every sense of the word, but we all certainly thought it would be ticking a lot longer than this. He was taking his morning shower and simply. dropped. dead.

There’s no term for “survivor of a sibling” like there is “survivor of a spouse”. Also, no term for what my parents are now. Seems like there should be a word that identifies your new status, “My child has died” or “My sibling has died” in the same way that “widow” now also categorizes me. Odd that there is a word for “divorcee” but nothing to succinctly describe this. Would it all just be too many labels?

Born in 1961. Married in 1990. Widowed in 2007. Blogging in 2009.

1 comments On I’m also a… what’s the word?

  • For me, the status change has been one of the hardest things. If you are a parent who loses a child, you are still a parent; if you have lost a sibling you are still a brother or sister; if you have lost a friend, you are still a friend. When you lose your husband you are no longer a wife, as if your whole relationship has somehow been wiped out, even your identity. At the same time, you will be married forever because you were not unmarried; your spouse died. Widow, as far as I am concerned is purely a legal term, and that is probably why there is no term for the loss of other relationships because they are lacking the same legal contract that marriage entails with the exception of minor children. I am a widow to the world; I will always be a wife in my heart.

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One more thing…

How else do I know what hurts and what helps? Because not only were they done to me… I learned through this process that I am certain to have done the very same "Don't" things to others at some point along the way. If you're one of them, I am genuinely sorry. I'm trying to learn.