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Do Me A Favor: Say His Name

Updated: Jul 21, 2019

I know you think it will multiply my pain if you say his name, but it won’t.

Please don’t think you’re reminding me of the pain I sit with every day. I haven’t forgotten I had a son.

If I cry, bear with me.

Sit with me.

Cry with me, if you are so inclined.

When you dare to connect with me at the level of my darkest wound, you are helping me heal.

You’re letting me know that these feelings that I have no choice but to bear are somehow bearable because you dared to go there with me.

In this way, you could bring me immeasurable healing.

In the brief time he was with us, other than the hospital staff, only my late husband and I saw him, touched him, and looked into his eyes.

We thought he would be okay.

We thought there would be time for the rest of the world to see him. But we were wrong.

And now, I am the only person on earth who can remember the solid sweetness of my son.

Help me to do that. I don’t want to forget.

Please don’t pretend he never existed, and don’t change the subject if I bring up his name. If I’m sad on his birthday, please, don’t try to cheer me up.

This isn’t the kind of sadness that can be fixed. You’re not protecting me from the pain that is already there. Bring him into the light with me.

Let me cry and help me examine and treasure every moment I had with him.

Please don’t remind me “it could’ve been worse,” or “at least” this, “at least” that, or that other people have gone through worse things, and they’re okay.

I promise you; they are not.

You’re just not seeing the tempest raging in their hearts.

If you asked them, and really listened, they’d tell you. But you’d have to be brave enough to bear it.

Please don’t tell me I’m focusing too much on my pain, and that I need to “let it go,” or “move on” with my life. In time, and to a degree, those things will happen.

And though I’ll never completely move on, I’ll learn to navigate the world alongside this new normal. I’ll heal, as much as a bereaved mother can, but I’ll do it in my own time.

No one can set a schedule for grief.

Grief will take its own time.

And if I seem angry, I’m not angry with you. I’m angry with this unforgiving fate.

I’m angry that I struggle with infertility.

I’m angry that it took me two years, and surgery, to conceive him.

I’m angry I won’t get to watch him grow up.

I’m angry that I won’t die before him.

I’m angry that my late husband died six-weeks after my son.

And for so many other reasons, it would take a truckload of words to express, and it will take years for me to work through this anger.

I know what I’m asking isn’t easy, and I get it because I’ve struggled to be there myself with other wounded people. It’s a paradigm shift, and it can be frightening.

But I promise you, it’s healing, it’s worth it, and I would be so grateful.

So I’m asking you, rather than redirecting the conversation in a misguided effort to protect me, please, share my pain, and help me navigate the canyons.

Feel the edges of it.

Please. Say his name. I’m waiting to hear it.


There’s a box inside my closet

where half my heart belongs.

It’s filled with clothes you never wore,

with lullabies and songs.

You were just around the corner,

I’m a half a second late,

Still trying to win a race against

this unforgiving fate.

Last night we lit ten candles,

imagined what you’d wish,

Then blew out each blue candle,

and set an extra dish.

You were just around the corner,

I’m a half a step away,

Held fast within a memory

of that long-remembered day.

Are you sleeping in the garden?

Are you safe beyond the storm?

Are you cradled in the angels’ arms

where nights are always warm?

You were just around the corner,

just beyond my reach,

skipping on the gentle sand

of heaven’s golden beach.

In my dreams you’re in the courtyard,

or climbing in the tree,

dancing in the shadows

past where mortal eyes can see.

You were just around the corner.

I run to catch your face,

then wake to find my empty arms…

You’re gone, without a trace.

Tamra Scott-Hunt

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