“They’re closer than you think,” I said, talking about loved ones who died. I dug into my cup of coffee ice cream. Seated around a small table at Ithaca’s Purity Ice Cream Shop with an old friend and two new friends, I could not remember being there in the past 3½ years since my daughter died. Marika and I came here often: mocha chip and coffee ice creams. Chocolate sauce or hot fudge. No cherry, no whip.
“If a child loses both parents (s)he is called an orphan. Widows and widowers are people who lost a spouse. But what is a word for a parent who lost a child?” I asked.
“Damaged,” said one of my new friends. We could laugh about this; each one of us knew loss too well.
“And what is a word that means ‘a dear one who died’?” It was the question that had haunted me all week.
I was about to make an ice cream toast to our lost loved ones when the server sent out a fifth dessert.
“It was on your order. Mocha chip with sauce.”
That’s when I decided to plant a picture of my dead daughter at the table.
What do you call your beloved who died?