We Mourn the Death of Louise Glück, Fellow Replacement Child

Louise Glück was born after her parents mourned the loss of their first daughter. 

“Her death let me be born … Her death was not my experience, but her absence was” .

Louise Glück – Nobel Prize winning poet
Louise Gluck

“Louise Glück sought her mother’s approval exclusively, approval that was usually withheld…A younger sister appears in her poems, sometimes as an ally, often as a rival.”

Dan Chiasson noted in The New Yorker, November 5, 2012)

Glück suffered from an existential condition that affects many to a deeper degree than they might realize: the trauma of being born to a family who lost a child. Often, there are life-long consequences, starting with a difficulty in mother-child-bonding, casting doubts on one’s identity and the burden of grief and guilt that comes with having survived while a sibling has not.  

The poems of Glück speak right to the heart of adult replacement children. 

The Replacement Child Forum recommends the work of Louise Glück. They may provide solace and comfort and a profound sense of understanding of what they, too, may be feeling. 

The Wild Iris

by Louise  Glück

At the end of my suffering There was a
door. Hear me out: that which you call
death I remember...It is terrible to
survive as consciousness Buried in the
dark earth... You who do not remember
Passage from the other world I tell you I
could speak again: whatever Returns
from oblivion returns To find a voice:
From the center of my life came a great fountain,
deep blue Shadows on azure