Being an Orphan

by The Kay Way on June 28, 2009

in My Life,Uncategorized

Every week I think about what I want to write on Sunday mornings which is when I write my post for the week. This morning as I straightened the picture of my Sister on the wall, I decided it was the right time to write about being an orphan.

When I tell people I’m an orphan I get all sorts of reactions. Some people think of orphans as children only, my husband’s Aunt gets mad at me if I mention I’m an orphan because this hurts her to think that I am and others just look confused.

Let me share with you what being an orphan is all about for me and I encourage you to share your experience.  When I lost my Mum at 15, I became an orphan.  I did not know that losing one parents qualifies you as an orphan but I looked it up in the dictionary and alas yes.  I think I lost a bet on this one and if you knew me, I hardly ever lose a bet in fact no one bets with me anymore.  Then I lost my one sibling, my Sister when I was 37 and my Dad eight years ago.  Most people cannot fathom losing their entire family but I know there are people reading this who have.

Being an orphan is weird.  It’s the disconnection to the past that is difficult.  I remember when I was pregnant with my youngest and the other two had chicken pox, my Doctor wanted to know if I’d had them and I had no idea.  My Mum was gone so I couldn’t provide that information.  When I got promoted at work and my first thought was to tell my Dad, I couldn’t and I remember driving along the road with tears pouring down my face.  There is no one to reminisce with about Christmas’s past and silly things that happened.  I really miss that.

There are a number of strange things about being alone here on earth without any of my original family.  I adapted and I am just fine, in fact I’m thriving.  I have built my own family and my family of friends which I am super blessed to have so please don’t think I’m complaining because I’m not at all.  I do miss them terribly and one of the comforts of when I do die, is I know I will be with them.  I’m not religious per se but I do believe in God and the afterlife and have proof that we still exist in spirit form.   This is the subject for another post….

Thank goodness we humans are adaptable because most of the time I don’t think about being an orphan but every once in a while the longing hits you like a ton of bricks and I feel overwhelmed with grief, I have a good cry and then I’m fine again.  I do this in private because I cry very badly, not like on TV.  I get a red face, my makeup runs and it’s really not attractive.

There is even the occasional advantage to being an orphan.  At my age I have several friends taking care of aging parents and this can be very very difficult.  One such friend’s life is totally consumed with dealing with his Father and Mother at the same time.  He has had to cancel dinner three times with me and we joke and that I’ll see him after they die.  So you see, I don’t have to worry about this.

I do have my memories and I share them with my husband, my kids and my closest friends whom I trust with my soft squishy center.  I recently had a dinner party for some of my girl friends and I toasted them with “friends are family you get to choose”.   My family and friends fill the hole……almost.

P.S. please tell the people you love that you love them all the time, try hard to forgive and don’t waste time arguing over things you’ll regret when they’re gone.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Adriana 06.28.09 at 10:28 am

This is a really touching post.
It made me think about my family, and the fact that I don’t have them close to me and how I take for granted that they will be there for me.

Thank you for this post. It helped me value my family even more.

p.s. I’m going to call my grandma right away.

TheKayWay 06.28.09 at 12:39 pm

Thank you Adriana. I’m so glad you got it! You’re very deep for your age, probably an old soul. You are a delight!

Glynis Smy 06.30.09 at 4:28 am

I feel a little guilty, I have my parents but they were…well let’s say not very good at their job. I phone the UK each week and organise their care from afar. After counselling this is all I can do. It is hard for abused children to read the pain of others, who are orphaned, I feel for you.

Amy 06.30.09 at 7:02 am

I really enjoyed this post. It really gets a person thinking. There are many things that I take for granted when it comes to my family. I still have my mom, but I often let little things get in the way of our relationship. Petty things that really don’t matter when you look at the big picture. And I am very fortunate, having 5 siblings. And although I am not close to all of them, I’m sure that with some tweaking I could be. But I have to say, I really do miss my dad. I never realized how much I seeked his approval. There have been several occaisions since he died, that for a fleeting moment I thought of calling him up and sharing some news. Things that would have made him proud. And then,of course, I feel angry and sad because I can’t. And then I have a good cry (in private also, because I too, turn into a hideous beast when I cry)
I think you have a wonderful attitude on life, Kay, and it it is very inspiring to be around you. You can find something positive in the crappiest of situations. And if there is no positive to be found, then you find a way to grow.

TheKayWay 06.30.09 at 8:21 pm

Glynis Smy, the fact that you are willing to arrange for their care means you are probably a better person than they are or were to you.
That’s a tribute to your character. We don’t get to choose our parents or our children for that matter, just whether to have them or not.
I was blessed to have been loved deeply by both my parents and my childhood until 10 years of age was idyllic. I shall just be grateful for that.

TheKayWay 06.30.09 at 8:25 pm

Amy, I love that last line. It pretty much sums up my philosophy. Growth is very important to me as a person but it is often at the price of enduring some sadness or adversity. You will always miss your Dad but you were there for him when he needed you and that is very important.

Sharon 03.29.10 at 3:48 am

Hi I hope you don’t mind me writing. I have been searching the internet as I have an essay of my own choice to write, and have come across your post. I have a best friend who has lost both of her parents and feel like I want to know more about what she has been through, so have chosen childhood disadvantages with being an orphan as one of the headings. I was very touched by your post, and am wondering if it is possible to use some of the information you have put as quotes?? I completely understand if you would prefer me not to, and would respect your desition entirely. If you do grant me permission, I would be more than happy to send you a copy of the section I have wrote.

I am happy to see you can see a light at the end of an “orphan” tunnel, as it gives me hope for my friend who is still dealing with issues.

Sharon x

thekayway 03.29.10 at 4:40 pm

Sharon, you are most welcome to use anything you find here that could be useful to you. My blog is simply to put my ideas and stories in a format that people can read should they choose to. Please do send me your essay, I would be glad to read it. Good luck.

Sue 06.13.10 at 6:53 am

Hi Kay,

I lost my parents at different times when I was a child. I lost my Mum when I was 15 and my Dad when I was 4. I agree entirely with what you wrote about being an orphan. My friends and family never referred to me as an orphan, simply because I never went to an orphanage. Now I look back and think “Gosh not only was I an orphan but I am still an orphan, an adult orphan.” I would like to write more, but don’t wish to share in a public forum. Thank you kindly for your blog.

thekayway 06.16.10 at 10:33 am

Sue, I’m glad you found the blog to be helpful. You can only know the feeling if you have experienced it like ourselves. Actually some people laugh when I tell them I’m an orphan. If you like, you can send me an e-mail at

Chocolate 11.21.10 at 8:38 pm

Interesting stories but im still (at nearly 40!) angry, happy, sad and sometimes wonder If my mum is still around but just hiding ?! to protect me in some way?! ..that’s probably v weird and I know this is not the case. It’s horrible not having that unconditional love too.
Nb Lost my dad at 18m and my mum at 12yrs.

thekayway 11.22.10 at 5:56 pm

Chocolate, I’m sorry to hear you had such heartache. You are still suffering and this is something you can change. If you have unresolved grief, this will stay with you your whole life. Please find someone you can share this with to allow you to move on. You will always miss them to be sure but you can heal and remember the good times.

Samantha Craig 04.23.11 at 4:34 pm

I was born an orphan and became adopted by very unloving people. I have become a loner and dont mind at all, I feel free. My adoptive parents disowened me after I had major surgery at the age of 26, and my birth mother also disowned me a few months after that. I always thought I was doing the right thing by being very hard working and standing on my own two feet, but they hated me for that. I moved countries and now I just sit alone in my bedroom all the time. I dont know who I am or what my purpose is. I do try be happy, but its the reminder that I have nothing that just makes me sad most of the time. I am 33 now and have terrible dreams of them screaming at me, and night terrors. My friend who accepted me unconditionally died a year and a half ago she was 85 and I still cry because I have never met someone so kind. I dont know who I am supposed to be, or how to live this life. I used to believe that I was Annie and that Daddy Warbucks would put an end to this all :-) xx

thekayway 04.27.11 at 6:59 pm

Samantha, I’m so sorry to hear what a difficult life you’ve had so far. I hope that you will find peace of mind and are able to find pleasure in life. Try starting with small pleasures like a walk in the park on a nice day or buy yourself some ice cream. Perhaps you could join a support group. Just some suggestions. Take care, all the best.

ANNA 06.28.11 at 6:15 am


thekayway 07.30.11 at 8:21 pm

Anna,I am touched by your story. What a difficult life you have lead. It reminds me I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I’m sorry you did not have the love and support you deserved. Would you please read this week’s blog the 80/20 rule for life. I think it might help you. Good luck Anna, I will send you positive energy.

Jasmine 10.09.11 at 9:31 pm

Thank you for posting this. I am 30 and lost my mom when I was 14 and my father at the age of 28. I am not close at all with my older sister, although I have tried to be. My younger sister and I were very close and still are in certain ways, but we live far away. So, I do feel very alone, quite often. No one I know around my age has been through this, so this makes me feel more isolated. It helped to read of someone else’s similar experience, as a reminder that I am not the only person in the world like this.

mary 10.25.11 at 6:34 am

i have read ur article its real a good orphan too but sory to say i was abondened by my mother whn i was three month years old..whn iws 7yrs old i heard from my father telling me my mother is dead for h.i.v i cried for the mother i ddnt know ..when iwas 12 my dad passed away for maralia he was my only hope now he was gone…i condemmed god for such brutality but it was of no result sometimes i wished for him to raise from the dead or come back as ghost but iwas a kid thnkn like a kid……..
but life without parents cost me a lot till today i hvnt get over it sometimes i wish i had someone to call mummy even if i pay her to do soo…i finished law degree but i dont see someone who is proud of me…i hv never get a parrental hug or kiss..there a time life become so challenging and i have tried to kill myself….i real lonely till today i dnt knw how to face life without someone like mama to life is very difficult

thekayway 11.01.11 at 8:08 pm


Your story is very very sad and I’m sorry to hear about the heartbreak and loneliness you have faced. We can’t choose our parents but there are so many other opportunities to surround yourself with loved ones, I hope you will make the effort to find your own life and come to terms with your past losses. All the best to you Mary I will send you positive energy.

Lin 11.19.11 at 6:19 pm

Hi Kay

I’ve enjoyed reading your post and feel less ashamed about being an adult orphan as well. Your story gave me a little hope. I’ve been feeling so down all week and so alone til I came upon your site and found there were others that shared my experience. I lost my mother when i was 24 and my father walked out on the marriage with another woman when I was 20. I’ve lost contact with him for many years as he doesn’t want to be im touch with me and my brother. My brother seems to have followed in his footsteps and never writes back to me. I was abused by both parents due to their unhappy marriage. Only when my dad divorced my mom was when my mom reached out to me to support her thru her loneliness. Then she passed away. My brother was the favorite of the family as he was the son and in Asian families was highly favored. I never felt loved unconditionally by anyone and ended up in bad relationships in order to have someone to care for and care about me. Now I am so alone with so little trust in people at times. I always fear abandonment so cannot get close to people or open up to them for fear they will judge me. Yet it is the only thing i yearn for in this world to have someone love me and have my own family one day. But I feel I am not as smart and confident as you in knowing who I can trust without losing myself and depending on someone too much. You are so lucky.

thekayway 12.10.11 at 7:53 pm

Lin, thank you for sharing your story. It is a sad and disappointing one.
Every child deserves to be loved and supported by their parents. You are so right, I am lucky. I did have a good Mother who got sick with alcoholism and it robbed her and us of her life. I don’t know if you have resources to speak to a professional and if not perhaps a minister.
If you are not religious there are non-denominational churches where you could find new frienhds and get support. I hope you will find a way to reach out because there are terrif’ic people out there and it would be so sad for you to waste your life over things you had no control over. Don’t let them win Lin! It’s your life, please take the risk to live it fully.

poshia 01.30.12 at 2:40 am

i wish to help orphan children below 18 years. its peaty

poshia 01.30.12 at 2:43 am

its a peaty for the story but remember God is on yo side

Roxana 03.31.12 at 6:19 pm

I really enjoyed your post! It’s touching, and I really could understand what you’ve been through.
I would like to share my life story with you as well, because it’s getting heavy for my heart:(
I’m 20 years old, I was 6months old when I lost my parents in a car accident. I dont know about any relatives. Im all alone in this world. Scared, without confidence, afraid that others dont count me as a human. I family adopted me when i was one, but there were some problems. We nevere could make the connection between eachother. They took me to the psychologist when I was 7 cause I could not sleep at nights, I was always scared of something. The doctor told me I should not be afraid, cause my family is always there in the house. I told her that I dont have a family, she was shocked and asked my mom if I kow something about the truth, Of course I did not know it, but i felt it. There were no mother and daughter connection between her and me. Last year she told me I have to leave the house, she gave me 7 days to pack and start a new life. I was brave, I moved to the capital city of my country. I found love here, Im living with my boyfriend. He’s my everything. My mom, my dad, my love, my everything. But there s not a day when Im not thinking about my true parents. Many times Im crying for them. I need their love, their advices for life, like this I cant feel complete somehow:( Im thinking about stupid things, like finding a couple, who d like to talk to me sometimes, and hug me as a mom and dad…I know its sick maybe, but im hopeless… I hope you ll answer to me somehow, I ll wait for your emailt.. Thank you, and I wish you all the best! Roxana

thekayway 04.03.12 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for reaching out to tell your story. I think it is perfectly natural to want to have family to talk to and get a hug. I like to joke that I’m still recruiting for a Mum because I need one. It’s wonderful that you have a good relationship and that is something to be grateful for. Perhaps you can develop other supportive relationships where you can get and give love. There are so many really nice people out there to meet, I can assure you that from my experience. It is important to be careful and get to know people slowly to ensure they are thrustworthy.
The reality is that your parents left you through no fault of their own and not yours either. I’m confident they are watching over you. Maybe one day you’ll have your own children to love and care for. I don’t have any magic answers and my opinion is not more valid than anyone else’s but since you asked I would concentrate on what you do have and work from there to build and even better life. This you do have some control over. Good luck and let me know how you are doing. All the best to you.

fatima 06.03.12 at 9:45 am

i am also an orphan girl, it is really hard to say because this word makes me realize that i have no one to take care and i’ve lost my precious things of my life. I lost my mother wen i was 12 and my sister was 5, then my father died wen i was 16 and my sister was 9, there came a lot of situations wen we were hungry and had no money & still it happens bt Allah helped us. sometimes our fan got out of order, bulb got fused, tv got damaged n i cried who will repair these things? i hate this place i hate this world, being an orphan is a curse. i hate myself :(((((((((((

thekayway 06.13.12 at 7:26 am

Fatima, your story is so difficult to hear. My goodness that you have had to struggle during your life. It is hard to understand why some people roll through life with so many blessings and others don’t. I don’t have any answers for you but I truly empathize with you and will say a prayer for you.

Marge 09.02.12 at 3:48 am

Hi, I’m 26yrs old. I am an orphan also since birth I don’t know who my parents are and have been in the orphanage ever since. Always struggling for an identity.
Never been adopted and went through a lot of foster homes. Still struggling to finish college and still struggling for rent and food.

I could really relate that I do constantly find myself crying out of nowhere and looking envious at other happy children and family around me. Still can’t stomach watching any cheesy family movies.

I never told people I’m an orphan not even blogged about it cause I feel so judge and I don’t really accept how I was left for dead in this world.

joseph 10.01.12 at 5:33 pm

Hi kay, my name is joseph and I’m also an orphan. I just wanted to say it’s really great that you’ve shared your story here I think sharing helps people in a lot of diffrent ways and as orphans help is something that can be in short supply. And for everyone else who’s had a similar experience it gets better. Try to find something you’re passionate about and try to build a support group its not easy but its worth it. If your young and have lost both parents or in a bad situation try to do well in school its the best escape and can open doors to a better future and dont be afraid to talk! find some one who you can share with, a friend or a teacher or who ever but don’t keep everything to your self its too much for one person. I lost my only parent at 15 and had a rough last few years living with unstable siblings but now I’m in college and I have the chance to follow my passions and hopefully build a better life for myself. Also don’t let money stop you share your story and apply for scholarships, there are people out there who are willing to help! dont give up and dont forget you’re not alone!
thanks again kay for facilitating this dialog!

Grace 10.07.12 at 11:27 pm

Even though I still have both my parents, I feel orphaned because they had abandoned me when they got divorced four years ago. I am 13, and I never get to see my dad. He lives in Alabama, and Mother still lives with me, my sisters and grandparents, but all she does is ignore me and shout nasty insults at me. She was abusive, and even though I have my grandparents, I still feel alone. I had lost my 8-year-old cousin to brain cancer last year, and this year I’m being bullied by some kids. I feel orphaned, because I never once heard my mother say ‘I love you’. Daddy almost never calls, and never writes. I don’t have any human friends, my only friends are my kitten, Alice, and several other animals at school and at home.

thekayway 11.10.12 at 8:58 am

Joseph, WOW WOW WOW. I wish I could take your thoughts and inject them into other people’s brains. You get it! It’s not what happens to us but how we handle it that matters. Life is full of ups and downs and tragedies and joys. You are wise beyond your years. You took control of what you had influence over and you are living your life and building your own future. Congratulations. Please let me know how you are doing as you go forth and thanks for sharing your story.

thekayway 11.10.12 at 9:03 am

Grace, thank you for sharing your story. You’re right even though we have parents we can still feel very alone. I can admit that after I got divorced for the first while I concentrated mostly on myself and wasn’t as engaged a parent as I could have been. I hope that you can confide your feelings to a trusted adult if not at home then at school especially around the bullying. Also if I may suggest there are support groups for children who’s parents have divorced.

Maddy 01.13.13 at 11:31 pm

I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I’m also an orphan, I lost both my parents a bit over ten years ago. I’m fifteen and they died when I was four. And I’ve grown up living with my grandma, and my two brothers.

thekayway 02.15.13 at 6:12 pm

Maddy, that is very sad. You are fortunate to have your grandma and your brothers. It is hard especially as a young person how this can happen. I’m sure your parents are looking out for you from above. That is my belief. Live you life to the best of your ability and follow your dreams. All the best, Kay

Claire 04.15.13 at 7:27 pm

I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one who has lost both parents. My dad died when I was 8, and my mom died 2 days after her birthday and 2 days before mine…she died a little over a week ago. She was perfectly healthy the day before she passed away, and I still don’t know what caused this…to put her into the ICU so quickly and to be put on life support within hours. It’s confusing. I don’t know why my siblings and I (triplets at 17, and younger brother at 15) had to lose both of our parents, it doesn’t make any sense…thankfully, my grandparents stepped up to the plate and are now going to take care of us until we all graduate high school. I’ll just miss their hugs, and I hate knowing that my sweet parents won’t be physically with me when I get married, or have any kids, and other huge life events like that. I know they’ll always be in my heart though, that’s for sure. They raised all four of us kids to be so incredibly strong and determined. I’ve been searching far and wide for a website or post like this, and I’m so glad to finally find one. I guess I’m just sharing my story to get it off of my chest, because I’ve kind of been holding it all in for awhile.

MURIEL 04.25.13 at 7:41 am

This is a very touching story,I am missing my parents dearly,especially my father…

thekayway 05.18.13 at 6:55 am


Thank you for your message and I am very happy that my blog could bring you comfort. Your maturity is so clear in your message that I am sure you will be fine. Your gratitude that your parents brought you up to be strong and determined will help you all to become the people your parents hoped for. You are fortunate to have grandparents to assist you, that is probably why your parents were who they were. When you have a situation just think about how they would handle it and you will hear their voices in your head. That is what I do, I know exactly how my Dad would handle a situation especially in business where I am working. It is a little harder for me with my Mum because it is so long since she died but I feel heer love more and more lately. This is part of your life”s j9urney and although it can be incredibly hard sometimes you wll learn and grow as part of it. Best of luck to you and your siblings Claire, your parents are still with you just in a different form. I am sure they are incredibly proud to see how you are managing and its ok to feel it’s too much at times. This will pass. Every day we have the opportunity to make it a good day.

Steph 09.26.13 at 7:57 pm

I’m probably the only one here who is not an orphan, but I can completely understand the feelings you shared in your post because my mother is an orphan. She lost a newborn baby sister when she was very young (so youg she doesn’t remember how old she was), then when she was 6 her mother fell ill (she doesn’t remember what she had but thinks it was TB). As she waited for news at the hospital, she fell asleep. When she woke up, her mother had died and her dad had left her there alone. Social services waited for him for a few days but he never came back, so she was sent to an orphanage, where she remained until she turned 18 (she was never adopted or fostered).
I’ve watched her struggle with so many things in life, like feelings of abandonment when my dad travelled for work and left her with 3 small kids and I watched her eyes well up once as she talked to me about her dad, which really shocked me since she was 60 years old. I never thought this intense feeling of abandonment could stay with her and be as strong as it was when she was young.
As one of her 4 blood relatives (us kids plus my baby nephew), I feel a strong sense of responsibility, to keep myself healthy and safe so that she never has to deal with another loss. On the other hand, I am so very proud of her for being so strong and never using what happened to her as an excuse to get in trouble. She’s very hardworking and a very loving and responsible parent, something she learned entirely from common sense and instinct, as she had no one to emulate, and I really admire her now as a grandmother as well.
What I’d like people to take from my comment is to not let the fact that you’re an orphan define your life. My mum’s experience taught me that life is not defined by what happens to you, it is defined by how you REACT to what happens to you. Things get better :)

Nadia 10.06.13 at 10:13 am

This blog is an inspiration to everyone, not only to orphans like us. But to every people in the world, with its message which is to love your family as much as you have them with you.

Ms. Kay, the owner of this blog, thank you for this very wonderful blog you’ve shared with us. Actually, some part of it, I used them in sharing with my classmates during our speech class. Thank you so much! Continue with those good things which you have in your personality and in your heart.

nadia <3

thekayway 01.06.14 at 7:01 pm

Thank you Nadia for your comments. I am glad you found it helpful and I apologize for answering so late. I am writing again so I hope you will visit often.

thekayway 01.06.14 at 7:36 pm

Steph, mayb e you should be writing my blog! I hope you show your post to your Mum, she would be very proud. I totally agree, you can’t blame whatever happens to you, you need to rise above it and move on and do whatever you can to make your own life successful. Thank you for sharing her story. It is truly a joy to see someone who appreciates their parent and what they went through. All the best

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