What does it mean to lose a child?

Skip Pletcher
Jun 17, 2019

If a child dies before a parent, was that child lost? Odd question perhaps, but I think one of consequence. Touches on how life and death are related to our definitions of family and childhood.

Odd perhaps on Father’s Day to consider, unless you have suffered like Joe Biden (father of Beau), Tracy Martin (father of Trayvon), or Robert White (father of Tracy). Do we believe they have lost a child? They are not alone.

Our mother in dementia care facility doesn’t know her son has terminal cancer and will die soon; is she losing a child? A niece committed suicide; did her mother lose a child? We experienced a miscarriage; did we lose a child? Did a post-abortive woman lose a child?

Who decides when we become children and when we become parents? What criteria ought we to use?