Sunday 4 December 2016

A sort of homecoming

The six young people who died so tragically can teach us what 'home' actually means

Colum McCann

Published 28/06/2015 | 02:30

Eoghan Culligan funeral
Eoghan Culligan funeral
Funeral of Eimear Walsh
Lorcan Miller funeral
Olivia Burke funeral

The balcony crumbled. There are words in the English language for those who have lost loved ones - widow, widower, orphan - but there is no specific or absolute word for a parent who has lost a child.

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Nor is there a specific dedicated noun or adjective in Irish, or French, or German, or in fact most other languages apart from Hebrew (sh'khol), Sanskrit (vilomah) and Arabic (thakla, mathkool).

There is a language we use - bereaved, bereft, grief-stricken, broken, torn apart, inconsolable, heartbroken - and all of these words have been used in the days since a space appeared in the air six thousand miles away.

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