A search of the AWADTalk database and archives shows zero hits for word "orphan."

In addition to being burdened with my parents' death I also had to suffer the awful weight of being categorized as an orphan since I was five. Sadly, my parents committed suicide and it was the mid-60s and the orphan designation carried a lot of baggage and implications. I was so young but even then it seemed wretched to be called an orphan. Now the word still seems archaic and Dickensian. The worst threat to me as a child was to be sent to "the orphanage."

The word "orphan" doesn't seem to be in current usage and it seems that news reporters somehow can reveal family tragedies without using the word even when it's "appropriate." As much as I despise the word, my experience of being an orphan was every bit Dickensian as the word evokes. Now it seems like being an orphan is one of our last taboos and children with dead parents go on to live happily ever after with their favorite aunt, simple and done as that. I know that this can't be the case in reality. I suspect that orphans are still maligned by the public and aren't the topic of choice at cocktail parties. Also, one doesn't read about orphans in the news, there isn't a TV show about them, and Hollywood treats them as a relic from the 19th century.

So here are my questions: Is the term "orphan" being abandoned? or is it that the phenomenon of a child having both parents die just an extremely rare occurrence in western civilization? what word has replaced it? or, as I have mentioned, is this simply taboo territory?

michaelo (newbie)