There are several types of childless people, all with their own reasons, their own memories, their own wants and desires, and, for most, their own losses:
There are those who are childless by choice. Those people who for whatever reason, choose not to walk the path to parenthood. These are the childless people I envy. If I cannot have children, I wish I could have never wanted them. They are childless, but they don't have to mourn the loss of a child either.
There are those who are childless by happenstance. They would have wanted to be parents If. If they met the right partner, If they had their career in place, If they lived in the house of their dreams. It doesn't seem like childlessness effects this type of person as it does some others. Perhaps it's because becoming parents isn't what they defined themselves by (that's the house, the job, the partner) or because they have larger issues (lack of shelter, work, or a loving, stable partner). They might mourn the loss of the material ability to have children, but may be not.
There are those who have wanted to, but never been able to conceive a child. Have never felt the elation of seeing two lines, or hearing the words "You're/We're/I'm pregnant". Even knowing the way it ended, I would love to feel that amazing joy of September 18th 2011. I know a woman who desperately wants a bio-child.. and has never even gotten this far. That is a loss in and of itself, on top of that is the loss of being a parent, if even for a few days to a fetus in utero.
There are the babylost. So many types: early miscarriage, recurrent miscarriage, TFMR, loss while carrying to term after a poor prenatal diagnosis, pPROM, unexplained late stage pregnancy loss, still birth from a delivery accident and more and more. Each a horror all to themselves but the tie that binds in never getting to see your own child alive. The loss of a child on top of the loss of the memory of one.
There are those who are childless because of infant loss: expected or unexpected, in the hospital or in those first few days home. These people had parenting so close, and then ripped away. The memory of a living, breathing little human that you created living and dying in your arms. This loss must be different than the loss I had. Having a child of your own; that baby smell, touching soft skin, seeing tiny toes. It is unimaginable to me to lose a child after these things.
Then there are those who no one wants to look at too closely. Those who not only had pregnancies, live births and babies but had children- kids with personalities, likes and dislikes, may be even friends and favorite books. Parents who lost kids... parents who lost a person they have loved and begun to raise. Those (like my wonderful grandparents) who raised a child- watched him marry and have children of his own- and then watched him die. Leaving his children behind, my grandparents mourning not only the loss of their child, but the also the sorrow of his own families.
I read a post from a woman once who was claiming she lost more because she had lost her child after X months and X days and the other had lost their child at X-1 months and X-1 days. She implied that she lost more because she lost her child when she was older (by days). I didn't like this concept, like I couldn't have loved my child as much as she loved hers because I never would "really know" mine. There is a bit of truth in there though, I will never know the loss of Blue Sunday like I would have if he had lived for days, weeks months or years in the world. That loss isn't made worse in number of days you were together, but the number of things you know you're missing out on; his beautiful face, smile, singing voice- knowing then losing all these things in your own little one must just make the loss so much more difficult.
Today, as we mourn the loss of 26 people, children and adults, we remember that each life is special, and that any life can be gone in an instant. I sadly welcome their parents into the horrible, awful club of the childless- because- as BLMs know- having other children doesn't ease the the ache of the one you lost. That the child for some of these parents wasn't 6 at death but 26 or 46- it doesn't ease the ache. Even with other kids- all these parents are now less a child. A true tragedy. A true sorrow.