A Name Silenced by Death

Have you noticed how great it is to hear the name of your loved one? It’s been over a year since my best friend/mom died – a year of silence. Her name has not been said at all. Then the other day I heard it and a warm happiness filled my heart.

After a loved one dies and after the funeral, it can be a long time before you hear their name mentioned in conversation. You don’t notice it’s missing because in grief you think about them all the time. But the day will come when someone casually says their name and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve missed hearing it. It’s as though the world has forgotten your loved one. Finally, someone says their name and your loved one’s existence is expanded again beyond you and your thoughts. They suddenly are present in the world again, if even for a brief moment.

I never considered how lovely it is to hear her name. I never appreciated the sweet sound of hearing a name, and the validation of life it brings. I never knew that people speaking their name expands their presence in this world. I never realized how the absence of their name spoken shrinks their existence. I never understood that when a name is dropped from the conversation, it is a loss. As one grieving, you see it as evidence that no one but you cares that this person lived and they shared your love. And that is the pain, the heartache of a name silenced by death.

And then when you hear their name, they suddenly have a presence.

It is good to hear a loved one’s name. Remember that for your grieving friends.

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