Saturday, May 5, 2012

The power of Jonathan's name, and Random Ramblings on Grief

This post is just some rambling thoughts running through my head at midnight. One thing that has been really difficult for me is the lack of hearing Jonathan's name spoken out loud. Many times I have tried to mention him and felt a tenses awkwardness fill the air. Jonathan was here, he was real he IS my son. Sometimes I wonder if people understood how much I long to hear his name, if they would respond differently. I have noticed a slight obsession with name's in the baby loss community? Well if you don't know what I am talking about, let me explain a big part of our world. A LOT of  baby loss moms have there child's name displayed in several different ways. In the sand , On stones,  In the stars, On flowers, Written on the side walk, in Vermont, on Baby Boards, the list could go on. Lots of mommies have "name gallery's" to display all of the names. Why do we have this name fixation? Well I think it is because we soooo want to hear their name and to see our child remembered.

The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, 
but it never fails to bring music to my ears. 
If you are really my friend, 
let me hear the music of her name! 
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul! 
~Author Unknown ~

When I tell people I am in a support group this is usually the first thing I hear..." Is it all the same kind of loss?" I want to say, "Well what do you mean? Did all the women have a baby boy die just before 20 weeks and deliver him,.... ummm no". We all have very different experiences. I have found there is very little judgment and comparison in the grief community, but lots of compassion. I remember the first time I ever read my friend Shannon blog. She lost her son  Ethan in June of 2010 in a drowning accident, he was 8. As I cried and read his story, I wanted to  leave a comment and connect with her. I  was a little worried, I thought.... what if she dismiss my loss because Jonathan was a baby? Well I did connect with Shannon and she never once made me feel that way, quite the opposite, she encourages me all the time. Yes are losses are very different but she understands that grief is painful enough with out adding comparisons. My grief has also made me not compare, If someone had a D and C or earlier loss I do not think their grief is any less because they did not hold their baby... maybe it is more, I don't know. My point is 99% of mommies I have met, that have lost children do not compare their why dose everyone else?

If I could tell my friends and loved ones one thing it would be, please remember!!! Remember to mention Jonathan. Speaking his name brings so much comfort, even if you do not know a BLM  ( baby loss mom) remember to mention anyone who has passed on to someone they love. How my heart sings when someone talks to me about my Papaw, that passed away 3 years ago. And yes, if you mention Jonathan I might shed a tear, but I assure you they are falling anyways and your mention of him made it a happy one. So please do not shift in uncomfortable silence, put aside your comfort and be compassionate.

Sympathy is no substitute for action. – David Livingstone

                                                                  Thank you Shauna
OK so here is the flip side to this post. Before Jonathan was born I had NO CLUE about the death of a baby, child or grief at all. I distinctly remember people that I cared about, that had suffered loss and I never even called. Was I trying to hurt them? No, not at all, I just really thought they would not want to talk about it. I had no idea what a BLM was or the stages of grief. I never even paid attention to the death of a child in the news because it was disturbing to me. What a difference now, I could sit hours and read story after story of parents grief. I read the stories because I can relate, I have tasted deep grief even if it is not "the same". I know the person I am reading about needs love, support and prayers, just like I do. 

SO I forgive you if you never mention Jonathan, if it is just to uncomfortable and awkward, it's OK. I know if you truly knew how I felt, you would. There are some thing's you cannot know or understand unless you have been there and nobody wants to join this club. So the key is-- forgiveness and knowing I would probably do the same thing if I had not walked this path.

Only reckless confidence in a Source greater than ourselves can empower us to forgive the woulds inflicted by others.”
~Brennan Manning,

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
~Ephesians 4:32

By the way if you want to know what to say to a bereaved mother on mothers day this is a Wonderful post  by my friend Beth


Deanna said...

What a great post, Tesha. ... now, truth be said, I felt a little hesitant to say such a thing because of me thinking, 'who wants to be told 'great post' on a sensitive subject such as this.'

But, I really do think it wonderful that you shared such a deep expression about this.

As you know, I am not a BLM, but I truly feel for your mommy heart as you miss your son, as you long to have him here growing tall and playing with his brothers and sister. What mixed emotions there must be? While at the same time, you know that Johnathan is with Jesus- what a Blessed Savior our Jesus is. With all my heart and soul I believe 100% that Johnathan is whole, happy, and smiling and filled with a love so great.

Sweet friend, my heart breaks for you that you have to know this trial so well. At times I want to say it isn't fair.

While you continue, and journey with this 'alive' grief - I will be in the background bringing your name, and your family to our Great God's throne of peace.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. PSALM 145:17

Blessing & Love

Kristy said...

Your words are so true. We fear people forgetting. I love to talk about Grant but it makes some people uncomfortable so I usually choose not to. Though we've never met I feel like we are friends. Maybe one day we could meet. Your family sounds amazing!

Sammy and Missy Parris said...

I completely agree about hearing and seeing his name. I have one child in particular that like to talk about him and I just love to hea him say Daniel's name. He talk about him like he should - His brother. It is something that we can talk about together and I think it helps both of us. As far as seeing the name. I have a Chsitmas ornament with his name on it. I am wanting to get a bracelet with his first and middle name on it I just have to find the beads I like. And I also understand about people not mentioning him to me by name. Do they just feel to weird??? I cannot forget him and I don't want to!! Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only one who has these feelings, Blessing to you!!! Missy

Deanna said...

... I noticed I misspelled your precious baby's name.

So sorry about that! I have a brother named, John, so I always want to add the 'h'.

with love :)

Jenn said...

Thank you for also sharing about this Tesha! I think the more people that bring this to light, the more people may start to understand and remember and talk about our babies. {{{hugs}}}

Denise said...

Bless you for sharing.

Gina @ Gigi Marie Photography said...

I think that everyone handles it differently. Like any type of loss- each person has different ways of processing those feelings- so one can't compare how one acts to someone else going through the same thing. What's important is to try to give & help with your heart & do what comes naturally. You want someone to help genuinely.

Kallie said...

I really appreciate you writing this post. I have friends that have lost children and quite honestly, I just dont know the best way to support them for fear of saying the wrong things. Your random thoughts here have answered so many questions I have had. I hope I can be a better support to them now...and you, now!

Trennia said...

Great post,Tesha!
We want to hear our babies names because we love them and want someone to aknowledge them :)
Jonathan such a precious baby boy<3

Wiley's Mommy said...

What a beautiful post!! I know everything you are saying. I LOVE to hear and see Wiley's name. Before this happened, I would have never known that how much it means to grieving parents. You're such a good mother and are honoring Jonathan's life well.
Thanks for sharing this post.

Beth said...

I love this post, sweet Tesha. And thank you so much for linking to one of my posts! I so appreciate that.

I especially like what you had to say about forgiveness. I am totally in the same boat as you (in that I had no clue about loss/grief before and never would have reached out probably had babyloss struck a friend instead of me), but I am only just being able to come to the place where I'm realizing that. It's taken me a bit to get here, but compassion for those who have not lost and who have no idea is dawning.

I also LOVE that quote from Brennan Manning. I'm going to have to think on that one...

Ashley said...

Perfect post...I feel this exact same ways. I LOVE hearing my baby's name and I don't think most people understand that. But, like you, I didn't react the way I would want someone to react to me regarding loss before my son died.

Thank you for sharing ((hugs))

Elizabeth said...

There is nothing like being in the room with someone who knows...but says nothing...and never has. It is so uncomfortable: for them because they don't know what to say, and for me because ANYTHING would be better than saying nothing at all. My brother's name is Jonathan. I will look for something with his name on it...and send you a picture of it. Please send me a picture if you ever see "Ryan" anywhere. Much Love :)

Elizabeth said...

Found you have an email address posted? If not, email me at and I will gladly attach my "Jonathan" picture back to send to you.

Kacie said...

My daughter has a boy baby doll named Isaac and oh how I love to hear her say his name. I didn't realize what a blessing that doll would be when my parents bought him for her.

Alecia said...

You are learning so many lessons since have to walk this painful path. Talking/posting about them seems like it not only is helping you, but helping others. I have a friend who lost her 8 year old son this past summer, and today is his bday. I wasn't sure what to do, I wanted her to know I was thinking about her and praying for her, but didn't want to make her sad. After reading your post, I know what I should day, so thank you.

Abigail's Mom said...

Tesha! I absolutely love this post! I cannot tell you how many times, I just want my friends to mention Abigail's name!! It hurts so much when they just ask if "it" is getting better, never once referring to my baby girl. It's like you said, if they knew how much we needed to hear it they would tell us. I won't forget your precious Jonathan and still praying for you.

Christine said...

So very true. Every word. Bless you for taking the time to explain all this. I even encourage you to write an article about this for magazines, or even something for pastors to explain to people at funerals. That after the funeral, the grief gets very intense and it needs to be acknowledged. The names and the loss itself.

How much God is teaching you! Bless you for listening and sharing.

Shannon said...

I couldn't have written any better what you wrote. Bless your heart, Tesha. It will get better. Then it will get harder again. And that's okay (well, I mean normal) because grief is so very up and down. Remember to be kind and gentle to yourself! God is using Jonathan in an amazing way--furthering His kingdom and ministering to other bereaved mommas. Jonathan and Ethan are indeed friends in heaven! :)

Jennie said...

This is so incredibly true! I look back on 'before'. I wish I hadn't been so scared to talk of the loved one with those who were grieving. I wanted to say something, but I was so scared of saying the wrong thing.

Hopefully, someone will read this, who will come in contact with a grieving individual and they will be brave enough to say a name and brighten someone's day.

The Kimmels said...

Love this post. My mom and I were just talking about how before I lost Carter we never really gave much thought to moms who had lost babies. Of course you think "Oh how terrible" when you hear about it, but you don't understand the depth of it. And I agree, I LOVE hearing Carter's name :)

Piece-of-Cake Parent said...

Your closing remarks described my thoughts which is that only moms who have "been there" get it. It is a club no one wants to belong to but thank God there is one for support when needed. Reading other people's stories is what helped pull me out of my grief eight years ago even though I still have moments of sadness. Keep leaning on the compassion of others moms and have peace knowing Jonathan's spirit is still with you, I know my little guys' is.

brigette said...

Beautiful post. U couldn't agree more! Hugs mama thanks for your example.

momstheword said...

This is so true. After we lost our baby, my mother and my husband never talked about it. If I brought it up, they'd talk but they never brought it up.

One time I asked my mom "How come you never talk about her? Don't you care?" and she started to cry and said she was worried she'd upset me so she never wanted to bring her up. My husband said the same thing when I asked him about it.

Same thing when my dad died. My mom *wanted* to talk about my dad and she and I talked about him all the time, but other family members didn't want to bring him up at all for fear of "upsetting" her.

It upset her more NOT being able to talk about him!

Mrs Sarah Coller said...

My mom has often said things like this. She lost my brother when he was just 10 months old...exactly 9 months to the DAY afterward, I was born. She always says God got me to her as quick as he could! :) It can be hard to know what to say to a grieving person...but, like you said, it's not like we aren't already thinking about it! How thoughtful that someone would step out of their comfort zone to comfort us! :)

Kim said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I encourage many people in my life to talk about Reese and Scotlyn. I have always reassured them that there is no "reminding me" of them. I try to educate about grief and infant loss because I had never experienced pain even remotely close to this before either. I know how they feel in not being able to relate because I remember how different my life was before I lost my daughters. My life is changed forever. Completely changed. There is no way to understand unless you have been through it, but I do feel like by helping people to understand, they can be supportive to me (which I know that's what they want) or maybe to someone else.

Morgan said...

Great post. Hearing and seeing our child's name is SO important. I too sometimes can immediately feel the tension in a room when I mention Marcellus's name. He has such a beautiful name and part of my grief is grieving not being able to use his name the way I thought I would. I wrote about it here,

Jonathan has a beautiful name and a beautiful mommy!

Nicole Rodriguez said...

This was so good - so well said. Thank you for speaking for all of us in this awful "club." Thinking of you always and missing Jonathan right along with you Sweet Friend.

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