Watching a friend experience the loss of their baby and the grief that remains can feel so helpless. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one-size fits all” approach to support a grieving friend through loss, but there are many ways to be supportive. When my daughter died at 33-days-old, it was the first loss of this type…
The sun had come out for the first time in what feels like forever, so I took the opportunity to outside and prune back my roses and hibiscus trees. As the rays of the rare Winter Sun warmed my skin I forgot about the burdens that Winter herself had caused my beautiful children. I called my girls out of hibernation for the first time in weeks, they were all in desperate need of some Vitamin D. As I started digging my hands in the Earth I heard giggling over the fence. The next thing I knew there were two little girls poking their heads over the fence. “Hello!” one of the girls announced herself. “My name is Esme”. And so we met a couple of our new neighbours. For the next couple of days the girls would spend their afternoons talking to each other over the fence.
A few days later I noticed my newest little neighbours Esme and Sinead jumping on their trampoline. They were jumping with a little boy. He looked tiny, maybe 18 months old, with chocolate coloured hair and big brown eyes.
I thought to myself “Imagine if his name was Christian”. I looked over at my bookshelf and laughed at myself as I spotted one of my books titled “90,000 Baby Names”. As if this beautiful little boy’s name would be Christian.
But I wanted to know what his name was anyway and being the big brave girl that I am…. I got one of my daughters to go and ask. Hah! As I peeped through the window I watched Scarlett call out to Sinead “What’s your little brother’s name?”.
Sinead replied with “His name is Christian”.
Of course it is.
I gasped for air. I felt a wave of sadness come over me followed by another one of disbelief. Really? Out of all the boy names in the world, his name was Christian. Scarlett was just as surprised as I was and she went on to tell her newest friends that she also has a brother called Christian but that he died and doesn’t live at home with us. “Oh Scarlett, don’t tell them that” I whispered to myself. I could see the little girl in my mind running back inside to tell her parents that we have a son called Christian too…. only he is dead. And then we would be the neighbours that they would want to avoid because our dead baby shares the same name as their living son. Talk about awkward.
After having some time to think and pray about it, I think it is really beautiful that my little next door neighbour shares the same name as my only son, the little boy whose precious name is rarely spoken aloud. I am sure I will hear it often now – when I am outside hanging out the washing, watering my garden. Now when I go outside to whisper “Good Night” to the stars, I will know that close by another family got to keep their little boy named Christian and what a pure blessing he is.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have met a child with the same name as your baby/child who has passed away? How did it make you feel?