The Man Who Had No Feet

Carol T. Hall


I am a grieving parent. My daughter Nicki died 16 Dec 1990 and my expertise in grieving is based on my own journey through grief and those I have met along the way. My aim is to lend a hand to others who follow the sad path that grieving parents must travel. I have been fortunate in that I've met a group of other grieving parents called "In Loving Memory." They gave me the opportunity to become the coordinator for their newsletter, Memories. It has given me real purpose and an outlet for my own grief. My hope is that my writing will also be a help to others. Memories is now on the world wide web and I've already made contact with other grieving parents. This is what it's all about.

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory is a support group for those who have lost their only or all children. It was started in Washington State by two grieving mothers, Liz Anderson and Marilyn Steele. They realized that while they had much in common with all grieving parents, there are unique issues which those who have no surviving children must face.

In the years since In Loving Memory began we are sad to say our membership has grown. We send a newsletter, called "Memories," each month with columns, poetry and other writings that we hope will help grieving parents. We also have a page of remembrances for the anniversary dates for each month. We encourage members to send any writings they would like, including tributes to their lost children.

There are no membership fees for inclusion in In Loving Memory. We accept donations for the cost of mailing the newsletter, and those contributions are acknowledged to all, but it is not necessary to contribute in order to receive the newsletter. The only requirement is that you have no surviving children.

If you would like to be on our mailing list, send e-mail to [email protected]
or send a letter to
Carol Hall
23405 91st Ave S #MM103
Kent, WA 98031

Be sure to include your name and address, as well as your child's (or children's) name(s), and the dates you would like remembered as they arise.

An on-line version of the newsletter is now available at Memories

The Man Who Had No Feet

I cried because I had no shoes
Until I saw a man who had no feet.

I don't recall when I first heard the phrase. It seems that I've known it forever. Whenever I thought that my life was horrible, I would remember it and realize that many were much worse off than I. It helped to put my problems in perspective.

When Nicki died, I thought again of the old phrase. This time, though, I felt that I was "the man who had no feet." There was no one worse off than I.

I was able to count the ways that my loss was the worst. Eighteen, I was convinced, was the worst possible age for a child to be when they died. A sudden death was much worse than a long-term illness because I didn't get a chance to say goodbye.

I even thought it was worse to lose a daughter than a son because a daughter would be more like her mother and therefore more likely to be a friend in addition to being a child.

With the passage of more than five years, however, I have gained a little bit of perspective again. There are some worse off than I am. Since meeting some of you personally and others who I just know a little about, I can see how each loss has its own unique pain.

The loss of a little one means the loss of the joy of childhood and the dreams. The loss of an older child means losing the person you have come to know over years.

A sudden loss means there's no chance to finish things and to say goodbye. A long-term illness makes it necessary to think of finishing things and saying goodbye.

As for losing a son or a daughter, I realize now that the thought is a ridiculous one. The relationship may be different, but is no less loving and real.

I feel now that others who have lost children are closer to "having no feet" than I am. I hear your stories or see things on the news and I am grateful that I didn't have to go through those things.

But the ones who I feel are the worst off are the ones who never had anyone to love and to be loved by. They may have feet, but they have no hearts.


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