Welcome to Dead Child World

Chanel Brenner

Please try to make yourself comfortable. If it feels like you are outside your body, it’s because you are. Don’t worry, this is normal. It helps to think of yourself as a cocoon. Part of you crossed over with your child, and what remains is a shell. We recommend you refrain from catching your fleeting reflection in mirrors or windows. A new you will emerge, but not today. We apologize in advance for the woman who will knock on your door with ashes in a plastic box, tucked inside a baby blue gift bag. We’re sorry it will remind you of a shower gift. If your dead child had a brother or sister younger than three, you will need to tell them repeatedly their sibling has died. We recommend you say, No he’s not in the hospital. No, he’s not coming home. No, he’s not going to be born again. Say the words firmly, in the same tone every time, without tears. We are sorry for the additional pain this will cause. Good news: you can’t OD on grief! If you chose to donate your child’s organs, remember that his heart, liver, and kidneys will eventually die. If you are wondering whether the label, Parent of a Dead Child, is necessary, it is. Wear it conspicuously, so other parents will know to avoid your sorrow’s contagion, so they won’t think about their own children dying. We don’t want a situation on our hands.