A new way to identify a parent who forever holds their child close in their heart, and who continues to find strength, hope, and purpose through their grief journey.
Song used with express permission of the
artist, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan.
Setting out, no rudder, sails, nor oars,
Trusting the current, trusting the course.
Peregrine, our hearts are ready, fully ripe.
Peregrine, our hearts are ready for new life.
"Recently, a peregrine falcon came to me in a dream.
It looked into my eyes and said simply,
I knew precisely what it meant."
- Henry-Cameron Allen, LTC Founder
To date, a single word to describe a parent who endures outliving their child has eluded us globally. Widow and Orphan are used universally to identify individuals who have survived a partner or parent. We deserve the same acknowledgment. It's time.
“Peregrine” is a proper noun that is at once beautiful, powerful, and evocative.
It suggests strength, resilience, and hope in the face of great adversity. It can also be used to describe the act of traveling, whether it is a physical journey, or a journey of the mind, heart, or spirit.
The word peregrine has a long and interesting history. It comes from the Latin word peragrare, which was derived from the Latin word "agra", which means "field", and was first used in the 1st century BCE to describe the act of 'traveling through' a particular place. The word peregrinus, derived from peragrare, was first used in the 2nd century CE and was used to describe travelers, wanderers, or pilgrims. It literally translates to "a stranger in the fields," or "lost traveler." It is a word that can be used to describe a person who is on a journey, or who is seeking something. The word peregrine was first used in English in the 14th century. It was originally used to refer to people who traveled to foreign countries. However, the word's meaning has since broadened to include people who travel in general, as well as things that are foreign or unfamiliar. In the modern Spanish-speaking world, the term peregrinaje still refers to a pilgrimage, and one who makes the journey is called a peregrino/a. Peregrine is often associated with religious traditions such as Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism, but can also be a secular activity. Similar uses today are also used in Italian and Portuguese (peregrino), as well as in French (pèlerin).
In the context of The Lost Travelers Club, Peregrine can be used as a proper noun to describe parents who have outlived our beloved children. We often feel like lost travelers, don't we? Strangers in a strange land, pilgrims on a sacred journey through grief, seeking to regain hope, purpose, and peace in our lives. It is a journey that is often filled with pain, but it is also a journey that can lead to personal growth and new beginnings. So you can see how Peregrine can be a powerful symbol for us!
The peregrine falcon (depicted in the LTC logo) is native to every continent except Antarctica. The bird's appellation derives from "falco peregrinus"—literally, "pilgrim falcon" in Medieval Latin. Peregrine falcons typically nest in high places, such as on cliff ledges or, in modern times, city skyscrapers. Because of the nests' inaccessibility, medieval falconers who wanted to train young peregrine falcons for hunting had to capture them on their first flights, or migratory "pilgrimages." That practice led to a new sense of peregrine ("engaged in or traveling in pilgrimage"), which was later broadened to "wandering." They are the fastest animals on Earth, reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Peregrine falcons are known for their long-distance migrations... they can travel up to 20,000 miles per year.
Symbolically, across cultures, the peregrine is seen as a symbol of protection. In ancient Egypt, the peregrine falcon was associated with the god Horus, who was seen as a protector. In other mythology, the peregrine falcon is seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal associated with the Shinigami, the Japanese god or spirit of death and the afterlife. It is often used in funerals to represent the deceased person's journey into the afterlife. In many indigenous cultures, the peregrine falcon is a symbol of power, strength, speed, protection, and hope, and there are general associations between falcons and gods of air and sky in Greek and Roman mythology, as well as a general association between falcons and creator beings in Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology.
Endangered No More
The historical endangerment of peregrine falcons due to the use of DDT and the deadly impact it had on their offspring can serve as a powerful metaphor for the pain and loss experienced by grieving parents. The recovery of peregrine falcons from the brink of extinction can also symbolize the possibility of healing and growth for parents who have suffered the loss of a child. It represents the potential for renewal and the ability to rebuild and find hope even in the face of unimaginable pain. What a fitting symbol for our process...
The Grieving Process
There is no one right way to grieve, and everyone experiences grief differently. The dimensions of grief are nuanced. Some Peregrines may find comfort in talking about their loss, while others may prefer to grieve in private. Some Peregrines may find solace in religious or spiritual beliefs, while others may find comfort in nature or in the arts.
The most important part of the process is to allow yourself to feel your emotions and to find what works best for you. If you find a personal resonance with the word Peregrine as we do here, please start applying it and sharing it widely. Let us know how it feels, and how others will respond! As a new meaning for the word, it will take time to catch on, but with practice we expect it will be added to dictionaries someday, the way widow and orphan describe those who have lost partners and parents.
The Lost Travelers Club is a place where parents who have lost children can come together to support each other on this journey. The club offers a variety of resources and programs to help parents cope with their grief and find hope for the future. If you are a Peregrine, we encourage you to join us on this journey. If you know someone who is a Peregrine, please guide them in our direction.
Together, we can find strength and hope in our shared experiences.
We can honor our children by finding new ways to live our lives.
We can be Peregrines, flying free on the wings of grief, toward a new future.
Since ancient times, the Egyptians recognized this constellation as the Falcon of Horus. It is still one of the most recognizable constellations in the Northern Sky. Named 'Aquila' by the ancient Greeks, it still represents renewal, strength, hope, protection,
and freedom in many cultures today. The second brightest star in the constellation is called "Alshain" which is derived from "Al-shahin" in Arabic. It means Peregrine! Let Alshain be our guiding star.