Christine Rhyner

Blog

Losing a Child is Like...
9/12/2015 12:00:01 AM by: Christine

My grandmother and grandfather emigrated from Italy to the US in the nineteen twenties with two young girls in tow.

After giving birth to twins—a boy and girl in this country, my grandmother delivered a fifth child, a son in hospital. I remember her to be a diabetic when I was small. Perhaps due to her diabetes or some other medical or genetic circumstance, she gave birth to her second son who weighed in at a whopping sixteen pounds. The hospital proudly claimed “Will” was the largest baby to have ever been born there.

His sheer heft had him passed around quite a bit so that everyone could hold the huge newborn. A nurse is said to have lost her grip on the giant Will and dropped him onto the floor. Will did not make it. In a twisted irony, this was said to have been the first child my grandmother birthed in a hospital.

I do not know how this was justified so that there were no attorneys involved, no lawsuit, and no liability on the part of the hospital. This was approximately in the late nineteen twenties or 1930. My grandparents were struggling immigrants without a firm grasp of the language.

When the doctor came to her bedside to inform my grandmother of Will’s death, he made the following observation, perhaps in a feeble attempt to console her,

“Well, you do have four other children.”

Through the grief and her tears my grandmother responded,

“Doctor, if someone cut off one of your five fingers, wouldn’t you feel pain? Wouldn’t that lost finger be a part of you forever gone and missed?”

This came from a woman who had suffered two incredible losses that nobody should have to, but do. She was a child that lost a parent and a mother that lost a child. At the age of twelve her mother died. Perhaps she was still in her twenties when she lost Will.

Those who lose a child say there is no word in the English language to define what this is. An “orphan” has lost parents. A “widow” or “widower” has lost a spouse. Even a “divorcee’” has lost a marriage. But there is no noun in existence that explains just what a parent whose child precedes them in death is.

I think my grandmother gave the doctor the best analogy possible even in her terrible state of loss, pain and confusion. The loss of a child is a cruel, painful excising of a part of you, always noticeably absent.

When asked how many children they have, a majority of parents will include the child that has died among the number of those that live and grow into adulthood. When posting pictures to Facebook of a recent family reunion I honored my grandparents’ loss, my Uncle whom I never had the privilege to meet by including him among their descendants.

After Will, my grandmother gave birth to her sixth and last child, my father. They were very close. Perhaps she cherished him in a special way that only a mother who has lost her son before him does.

Share This Blog:


Previous Posts

Is the Church Changing?
4/25/2017 10:55:00 AM  by: Christine

What Are Our Values Anymore?
4/14/2017 7:29:00 AM  by: Christine

The Final Frontier (Part Two)
4/3/2017 10:10:00 AM  by: Christine

The Final Frontier (Part One)
3/27/2017 9:00:00 AM  by: Christine

Soulmate
3/17/2017 5:00:00 AM  by: Christine

The Colors of a Writer
3/10/2017 5:00:00 AM  by: Christine

Camp Fear
10/9/2016 3:56:00 PM  by: Christine

What's Not to Get About the Writing Life?
8/15/2016 1:24:04 AM  by: Christine

Learning to Sing the Song of Winter
8/2/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Perspectives & the Second Half of the 10 Commandments of Conflict
7/24/2016 9:57:10 PM  by: Christine

Perspectives & 5 of the 10 Commandments of Conflict
7/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Run Writer Run! Make Music with Your Words
6/20/2016 5:30:43 PM  by: Christine

Mom, the Fishstetrician
4/18/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Radicalization of Hillary and the Democrat Party (PART 2 OF 2)
4/16/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Radicalization of Hillary and the Democrat Party (PART 1 OF 2)
4/15/2016 2:51:12 PM  by: Christine

Why Ted Cruz NOW?
3/19/2016 12:26:00 AM  by: Christine

Why is the GOP Committing Suicide?
3/14/2016 12:30:25 AM  by: Christine

Dear Chicago
3/12/2016 9:36:14 PM  by: Christine

The CONSTITUTION For President
3/3/2016 3:41:00 PM  by: Christine

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?
2/29/2016 10:08:29 PM  by: Christine

That Unanswered GOP Debate Question
1/9/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

America's Lifeline
12/31/2015 3:04:50 PM  by: Christine

Fractured Nation (2 of 2)
11/14/2015 8:42:06 AM  by: Christine

Fractured Nation (1 of 2)
11/11/2015 11:04:35 AM  by: Christine

What is Orphan Sunday?
11/8/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

November's Gratitude and Longing
11/4/2015 8:30:39 PM  by: Christine

Losing a Child is Like...
9/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Finding God in a Tenement
9/3/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Doing School in the 21st Century
8/22/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Superstition vs. Planned Parenthood
8/19/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Addicted to Giving Birth?
4/21/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Why We Should Have "The Talk" Before Marriage
3/20/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Adoptive Parents "Hypersensitive" & "Selfish?"
3/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

What's So Wrong With Calling It "Gotcha Day!"
2/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

How God Connected the Dots
2/7/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Exposure of Transracially Adopted Kids to Their Races a Bad Thing?
2/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Out With The Old
1/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Those Who Scoff at International Adoption
8/16/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Setting Aside Birth Story Facts for Truth
7/31/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Sneak Peak, "How much did you pay for her?"
6/11/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Blessing Through Adoption Pain
5/16/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Eight Ways Publishing Your Book is Like an Adoption Journey
2/23/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Neglected Ministries?
2/17/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

It's a Boy
2/8/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Thoughts of Her
2/1/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

To My Son
1/30/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Rational Thinking?
1/25/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Minority Against Minority
1/12/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Happy New Year!
12/30/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Happy Thanksgiving
11/25/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

You ARE my mother?
11/10/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Transracially Adopted Children's Bill of Rights and Some Thoughts
11/3/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Infertility Is...
10/19/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Will He Speak English?
10/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Kitty-Sam
10/5/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

What's in a Name?
9/30/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Vhristine

An Adoptive Mom's Message to Those in the Healthcare and Education Professions
9/25/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Being Tested
9/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

When We Are Weary
9/1/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Trailblazers
8/24/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Chrisrine

A Fresh Start
8/22/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

God Works Behind the Scenes
8/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Why Adoption Requires Forgiveness
7/28/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Dust Bunnies and Poo
7/19/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Reality Check
7/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Forgiveness is Work
7/9/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part Three
7/3/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part Two
6/27/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part One
6/22/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Are They Really Brother and Sister?
6/16/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Infertility's Not Fair
6/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Has He Ever Eaten a Dog?
6/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Sometimes We Fail
6/9/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine