Sunday, June 7, 2009


When I was younger and considerably more carefree my friends and I would make up words that we felt were missing from the English language. These creations corresponded to the challenges and trivialities of our days and then found their way into our everyday use.

Several of them were developed at the outdoor education center where I worked immediately following college and are fittingly British schoolboy humor-ish. Spluff – when the tide is rising and comes to just-barely crotch level. Lunx – time between two events that is empty but too short to be filled with anything other than ass-sitting. Congweff – doing something (ahem) 4 times in a 24 hour period. I met my husband around this time and he brought a word of his own to the conversation—tamardiggan – finishing a long and arduous task, normally shouted triumphantly.

These were the words of my youth--the language that was needed to capture and codify our exuberance.

Since R died I’ve felt the need to create more new words, maybe even a whole language, to capture the new reality.

Out here in the grieving parent blogosphere the wordsmiths are hard at work, twisting our surprisingly optimistic modern English to fit these new purposes (since when does awesome only apply to things that are overwhelmingly good?) A lot of work has been done on new adjectives to harness knowing rage – craptastic, suckitude, fucktacular. I use all of them frequently but haven’t been able to make any of my own contributions. Compared to most of the folks writing on the subject of loss and misery I’m quite the hack but, I don’t think that’s entirely the problem. Our situation is fairly unique, even in these circles--thus, the lack of words to describe it.

What do you say to someone simultaneously having the most amazing and most horrid day of their life?

What is the name for a twinless twin?

What is the word for missing someone whom you never really met?

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