Vilomah: Origin & What It Means?

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Vilomah: Origin & What It Means

No parent should have to bury their child.

All of us have experienced losing a loved one at least once in our life. It is painful, but we accept it as a part of life. It is the natural order and just how the world works. But nothing is more heartbreaking and traumatic than the loss of your child. The unimaginable pain, sorrow, and agony can only be understood by others who have suffered the same loss.

Origin of the term “Vilomah.”

In recent days, this word is gaining acceptance and is building a community around itself. The term “Vilomah” describes a parent who has lost their child. Life has its natural order, and in that order, children are supposed to outlive their parents. But sometimes there comes a time when parents have to bury their children.

“Vilomah” comes from Sanskrit, which means “against the natural order.” Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages that dates back to 400 B.C. The same language gave us the word “widow,” signifying “empty.” There are times English cannot capture the true essence of a word. The term “vilomah” is a powerful yet straightforward word that captures the pain and turmoil that a parent faces in this situation.

Karla Halloway, a Duke University professor, began using the word “vilomah” after losing her child. She goes on to say, “the grey-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in, our children should not precede us in death. If they do, we are vilomahed.”

Trying to Understanding Loss

Loss is complicated, especially when you lose your child.  How do you console a parent who has lost their child? It is complicated. The trauma and the suffering are unimaginable. Parents often wonder if they should even call themselves parents anymore. Are they a parent if the child is no longer there. These questions and anxieties plague them and push them into a very dark place in their mind. The dark place is not just sorrow but also a turbulent road to an era of loss. It can lead to failing relationships, irritability, lack of will to live, and more. 

Why a Separate Label?

Do you want to recall one of the most painful experiences when some asks? Using the term “Vilomah” is adjacent to the word “widow” or “orphan.” The label helps people understand that it is a painful topic to discuss.

Community plays a massive role in grieving and healing those who have experienced loss. Grief and sorrow can feel like a never-ending abyss, a dark void from which there is no escape. Not only are you engulfed with these emotions, but there is also the constant overwhelming sensation that surrounds you. A community, recognition, a sense of familiarity helps people crawl out of that dark place.

Losing your child may feel like a curse; people who experience this alone tend to blame themselves. But this label helps people find others who have faced a similar tragedy. It helps normalize the process of grief and sorrow for many people.