jump to navigation

Living with the loss of your child: No NAME July 9, 2009

Posted by johnbohlinger in Dealing with Grief after Losing your child..
August pencil on paper from another notebook.  Order in caos theme.

August pencil on paper from another notebook. Order in caos theme.

no name

Lately I’ve been watching the DVDs of the  now cancelled series “Six Feet Under”, a drama/comedy about a family of undertakers.   Because death and loss never really leave my mind,  I thought maybe I’d try to immerse myself in it,  search for understanding, meaning, humor, or just a grow numb to it, much like an undertaker would through constant exposure to death.

In one episode, a client loses her six year old.  One of the characters says;  “If you lose your spouse, you’re a widow,, lose your parents, you’re an orphan  but there’s no term for somebody who loses a child, probably because it’s too terrible to imagine.”

I use to always tell my co-workers about things my son did and said.  I was proud of him and it felt good to share bits of his amazing personality.   Yesterday at work a friend said  “Hey, I’m going to the Bonarroo Festival.”   My son had gone shortly before he died and told me many colorful stories about this experience and I wanted so much to share this bit of him, but I didn’t mention it because I could not explain the unmentionable when they say “Oh, you have a son… Where is he?”

It feels so good to think about him doing what he did and saying the clever things he said;  it would be wonderful to share these but I can’t because no matter how wonderful the story is, the ending is so tragic, too terrible to have a name.   It’s a story that was so happy but with an ending that is too sad to tell.  What do you do?



1. maria estrella - July 9, 2009

Tell them, those wonderful stories! You can’t change it but eventually you’ll accept it, with time.

We need them too. I already see my sons in yours and yours in mine. we can hear your voice in what you write. I’m just a lucky mother. Did not do much more for my kids than you did for August.

johnbohlinger - July 9, 2009

Thank you Estrella.

2. elvira - July 11, 2009

¿Cómo fue que August empezó a tomar drogas, John? ¿Pudiste hablar con alguno de sus amigos? ¿Qué te contaron ellos?

3. Charlie - July 15, 2009

Tell the stories John! Over and over and over again until they become fluid off your tongue and provide salve to your soul. These stories can heal an entire world.

4. maria estrella - July 16, 2009

Johngosolo. That is your tool to do this. Charlie is right! Music fly…nothing better to transmit your message. You do it so well when you are ‘solo’. Love your album!

5. rushchick - September 28, 2009

I also have trouble telling stories of my Lizzy, parents talk about how their kid did such and such and here I am “Yeah Lizzy used to do that to , she had so much fun!” And then I notice I made the other person uncomfortable speaking of my daughter……they usually change the subject and it hurts. My big thing know is when people as “how many children do you have” hmmmmmy mind goes blank for I don’t know how to answer this, I have three living and one dead? Is that was am I supposed to say? Then if I saw that, a whole bunch of others questions will start that I don’t really feel like explaining……To me I will always have 4, I don’t even know how to talk to people about this anymore.

6. johnbohlinger - September 28, 2009

Does anybody know what to say when somebody unwittingly asks about children who are gone? It’s all so wildly uncomfortable for everybody in the room. Seriously, if somebody has a pat answer, spill it now. This stuff pretty much has turned a once gregarious guy into a shut in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: