I’m an orphaned adult, I have been since I was 28. It’s about as tough as you would
imagine it is, this parentless existence, but the pain is sharpest when I reﬂect on all my
children are missing out on, the grandparents they will never have.
There is a very real ache that comes from realizing that your parents will never meet
your children. Never play out all the imaginary scenarios they created in their minds
when they projected their lives forward.
It ﬂies in the face of how things were supposed to be. They should be here, grilling at
birthday parties and buying cutesy outﬁts at SAMs club. Their faces were supposed to
grace the snapshots of our lives, all covered in mud and frosting and childhood.
As a parent, I have to swallow this lump most of the time and focus on what we do
have, how richly we are blessed and all that can still be. So I bring them to life for my
children with stories and photographs and a few old VHS videos of family camping trips.
I tell them about Mommy’s Mommy and Daddy, that they’re in heaven and that I miss
them a lot.
On my brightest and best days I raise thankful hands, for we are loved as a family,
adopted and held by a group of people I count as family, as essential, each one an
On my darker days? I feel jilted and harbor jealous resentment toward my friends for
simply having parents. For posting grandpa pictures on Facebook and sending their
kids to “grandma camp.” This sucks twice because it leaves me feeling like an orphan
AND a bad friend.
The other day, in a slump of melancholy, I let it slip to my four year old daughter that
everything dies: people, animals, ﬂowers, all of it. At ﬁrst I thought she’d brush it off and
go back to her daydreamy play, but instead she burst into tears.
Because I’d just hit her with one of life’s harshest realities, the one that breaks our
hearts from the moment we internalize it.
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