Willower, defined

We use the words widowwidower, and orphan, but there is no word in our vocabulary that identifies the bereaved parent.

So I’ve coined the term willower.

will·ow·er (wĭlʹō-ər) noun

a. A bereaved parent.  b. A person whose child, or children, has died. c. A person that willows, or grieves the death of their child, or children: Each willower processes grief in his or her own way, in his or her own time.

[From the words willow, a weeping tree that has come to symbolize deep mourning, and power, the strength of will to carry on—despite loss.]

By Deanna

Rewriting life after the loss of a child.


  1. I love the idea of a new term… and willower is perfect. Here are a few additional reasons that the image of willow trees is apropos for grieving parents. First of all, the willow tree (genus Salix) is the source for salicylic acid… also known as the active ingredient in the well known pain reliever and anticoagulant, aspirin. Secondly, the weeping willow in particular is know for growing in wet soil (perhaps from our tears). Lastly, when the wind blows in a storm its branches bend… and when they break off no matter how large the break the tree grows back… sometimes those fallen branches can even root in the soil if it is wet enough and they have enough contact. I find the term so apropos… thank you for coining it.

  2. I am so very sorry about your beautiful Sam. I studied his photos for a long time, I almost feel as if I’ve met him. I discovered your blog through Denise’s reblogging of your post on Forever 21.
    With your permission I’ve added your blog to the website that I’ve been curating in memory of my 23 year old son who was killed 22 months ago. http://www.scoop.it/t/grief-and-loss The site is a collection of blogs, articles, videos, and anything else I come across that might be helpful to bereaved parents and siblings.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I, too, am sorry about your deeply loved son, Graham.
      And yes, I’m glad to grieve it forward by “scooping” Willow Post to your site. Peace.

  3. I am sorry for your son’s passing. Sam was a handsome boy and has what I call ‘sparkly eyes.’ My son Thomas passed away almost four years ago, this December. I have spent my afternoon in the dark and blog hopping grief blogs. Searching for something. Searching for nothing. I stumbled across yours and love the term “Willower.” So very accurate. I’ve read through some of your posts and they are lovely and filled with such truths. Thanks for your wisdom. God bless.

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