About This Blog

I’m 29 years old, and I’m an only child with two deceased parents. Nuclear family of one, so to speak.

If I were under the age of 18, I would legally be under the care of a guardian. If I were a couple decades older, I may be in good company. Instead, I’m right smack in the middle. Young adulthood. Where you’re out on your own, pursuing a graduate degree or career, but family (typically multiple generations of family) surrounds you. I’m not young enough to warrant legal guardianship and not old enough for heads to nod in an empathetic “circle of life” kind of way. I’m the exception to the proverbial rule of familial evolution.

In fact, a common reaction I receive — from both friend and stranger — is pure wonder: How in the world did you go through that?

A question quickly followed by fearful reverence: There is no way I could do that.

My purpose of writing this blog is twofold. First, I would like to answer the above question. I’ll share my thoughts and feelings as they relate to experiences being an exception. The good, the peculiar and (believe it or not) the unexpectedly hilarious.

Second, during the process, I’ll search for other exceptions. Not only nuclear families of one, but people who have suffered hardships that leave them feeling like a sample size of one. I believe that the commentary wrapped around our stories will resonate, closing the distance of wonder and fear, and empowering others to confront being the exception with strength.

21 responses to “About This Blog

  1. I find great comfort and strength in your words. Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts with us. I hope I am as strong as you inside.
    -megan

  2. I just discovered your blog a minute ago through the happiness project twitter page. I haven’t read your posts yet but I am already weeping since I am in the same situation..and have been all my life…I haven’t met anyone ever who shared this experience and always felt so different..I can’t wait to read this blog!

    • Jody – Thank you so much for sharing, and I hope to hear from you again. You’re definitely not alone — We’re out there!

      Lauren
      @laurenthaler
      The Infinity Game

  3. I stumbled upon your blog through The Happiness Project. Your words are so moving. I lost my mother seven years ago. I mourned for several years. I used her jewelry, her purses, kept knick-knacks around to remind me of her, talked regularly to her best friend – until I realized that my mom would not want me to carry on so. I stopped mourning although I carry her spirit with me everywhere I go. I am so sorry for your loss. I am happy to see you are coping and sharing. I am looking forward to reading your blog and following your discoveries.

    • I liked hearing about what types of physical things you carried with you after your mother died. I couldn’t bring myself to throw away her wallet. For some reason, that one thing so defined her for me — She carried it around everywhere, kept hand written to do lists and post-it notes in it and completely freaked out every time she misplaced it. The loud clicking noise of the lock on the outside of her wallet instantly brought me back to the times we shared over lunch and dinner at restaurants. I kept her wallet with me for 6 months and then finally found the courage to throw it out. I have developed more comforting things now (mostly thoughts and memories) that feel more comfortable and satisfying holding onto — Thank you again for sharing. I hope to hear from you again!

      Lauren
      @laurenthaler
      The Infinity Game

  4. Found your blog through the The Happiness Project. Your writing is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I lost my mother to cancer, and although I was much older, your words resonate with me.

  5. So glad to have found this blog. Like the commentor above, I also feel completely alone. I am 36 and know others who have lost both parents, but have only met one other who is a parentless only child. I am also unmarried and childless. Familyless. Sometimes it makes me feel alien.

    In my case, my two parents were my entire family. I do have aunts/uncles/cousins across the country but have only met them a couple of times. The word that best describes it for me is “unmoored” – the bittersweet of it. I feel both abandoned and set free – at the same time. I was not prepared for the complexity and contradictory nature of this grief. So glad, so very glad, for this blog.

    • By the age of 52, I also had lost both parents. Though married, I had no children, also minimal contact with any relatives, and moved around a lot, so always felt somewhat rootless. When I returned to work after my mother’s death, a colleague greeted me with, “So, how does it feel to be an orphan?” I was stunned and will always remember that.

      • Thank you for sharing, and what an absurd welcome back to work from your colleague! I can certainly relate to the rootlessness feeling. I hope all is well, and I hope to hear from you again.

        Lauren
        @laurenthaler

  6. Lori Schmidt Lutze

    I haven’t been able to write my blog since my dad died a year ago. Funny, this thing called grief.

  7. Thank you for having the courage to create this blog. I am also parentless. I lost my dad very unexpectedly at 18 and my mom died of cancer when I was 24. I am now a mom of a three year old and expecting my second. I have never met anyone without parents, so finding your blog feels so comforting.

    • Hi Lauren,

      Thank you so much for writing and for sharing your story. Congratulations on your growing family! How exciting. I hope you keep reading The Infinity Game, and please let me know if you have any ideas or topics you’d like to see covered. I’m sure we’ve had similar parentless experiences, and I continue to be amazed by how many topics come to mind when I sit down to write blog posts. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the future.

      Thank you again, and I hope all is well.

      All my best,
      Lauren

      @laurenthaler

  8. I am on the verge of this happening to me and have been worried about it for years. I’m 23 now, and I know that soon I will be completely alone. I am excited to read and hear from others like me.

    • Melonie,

      Thank you for your note, and I hope you can find some comfort reading The Infinity Game. There is definitely a community of us here, and I will always be available to if you’d ever like to talk as well. My mom used to always say, “it’s amazing how strong you can be when you have no other choice”. I really believe this. Please let me know if I can ever be of any help.

      All my best,
      Lauren

  9. Kate Frishman

    “…a sample size of one…”
    This may sound silly to you, bu I can relate so well to that term. I am the only child of a deceased schizophrenic and a living bipolar. She was undiagnosed when I was a child, so her behavior was just… what it was. She stopped parenting me, for the most part, when I was eight, morphing into this sort of unreliable friend who might or might not be around. When I got older I realized that I sometimes mourned for her even though she was in the same room.
    I’m 42 now, and I’ve made an amazing life. I am as sane as anyone, surprisingly enough, and I have 5 wonderful children. Mom is finally under treatment, and frequently cries when we discuss my childhood. I keep reminding her that she has a disease, and that the disease took her away from me, not her choices.
    I never tell her that I still mourn for her.

    • Kate,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, and I’m glad that you are able to relate to The Infinity Game. Although I have no children nor am I married yet, I would imagine that 5 children brings you great joy and happiness. Thank you again for writing, and I hope to hear from you again!

      All my best,
      Lauren

  10. I also found your blog through the Happiness Project and will be adding it to my Google Reader. I lost my father (my only parent) two weeks after my 21st birthday. I’m lucky to have in-laws that are amazing but the pain of not having MY parents is with me. I’m happy to find this blog because for the last 6 years, I’ve felt like a sample size of 1 too.

    • Meaghan,

      Thanks for your note, and I”m so glad the blog is resonating for you. I know what it’s like to have parents around you but not YOUR parents — hard not to be sad/angry/resentful at times. I hope you keep reading, and I’d love to hear from you again.

      All the best,
      Lauren

  11. Hi, Lauren. A friend sent me the link to your blog and I completely relate to your situation. I am another “exception”, as you call us. My mother died when I was 19 and my father when I was 23. Most of my friends tell me that they “wouldn’t have been able to do it” – to survive without the support of a nuclear family, I think they mean. I know they are coming from a good place, but… it isn’t as if people like you and I had a choice in the matter! Anyway, a huge mess was left behind after my dad died and in the process of begrudgingly cleaning it up I unearthed information about my parents that I could never have fathomed and wouldn’t have believed while they were alive. I was forced to see the deceased in a new light yet I couldn’t ask them any questions and I had no one to talk to about my newly mixed feelings. For me, the toughest break has been accepting the fact that I will never fully know my parents and that I now have to provide myself with the love and support that they did before. It’s been a bleak decade but I am happy to be alive and kicking, and I am happy in my way… I love your blog and it has inspired me to get back into my own writing, though the direction and nature of my writing is a bit different than yours. I hope to keep in touch.

    • Thank you so much for your note, and I would really love to keep in touch. I was nodding my head while I was reading your comment — I can relate to everything you wrote which I guess isn’t too much of a surprise considering how much you are able to relate to my blog! Anyway, I quickly went to suchawilliams.wordpress.com and while it looks like it’s a placeholder at the moment, I loved the following: “Because some lives defy natural laws as well as logic.”

      Please let me know when I can read your writing. I look forward to learning what direction it takes.

      All my best,
      Lauren

      @laurenthaler

  12. My name is Courtney Williams, by the way, and my only active blog is a silly one: http://cdwfallsup.wordpress.com/

    We will keep in touch. It helps immensely knowing that you and other parent-less young adults are out there, even on days when I feel great and don’t think that I need support.

    How long ago did you lose your mother, by the way? Your blog feels very raw and fresh, which… makes me think it was quite recent. My memories and feelings are a bit more dulled.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s