I get to use your name.
No, not in the way I'd hoped.

After the dust began to settle and I began to scale the magnitude of grief, realizing just how permanent death really, really is...

I began to note the aftermath and the collateral damage that was a direct result of losing you.

Losses that paled in comparison to losing you, but losses nonetheless.

I lost the opportunity to finish your bohemian baby room, with avocado green walls and fuchsia and teal accents. It would have been epic. So me, so you, so us.

I lost getting to know my first daughter’s cry.

I lost the opportunity to have normal new mother conversation with, at the time, my twenty-something friends, who all seemed to be knocked up alongside me.

I lost friends.

I lost my voice.

I lost my will.

I lost my fight.

For a brief moment, I thought I might lose my marriage.

One day, as I looked at your headstone, I stared at the name we had talked about naming you, our first girl, for years and realized I’d lost that too.

I lost the chance to call you by your name when it was snack-time and you were playing “Moana” in the backyard with your siblings.

I lost the chance to introduce you, Jenna Belle, as one of our children, to Daddy’s co-workers at the ball field.

I lost the chance to hear your name called out at Kindergarten graduation.

I lost the chance to hear your friends squeal your name at church and Sunday School.

Like any normal parent, we poured love and meaning into your name.

And while I did lose all the normal ways to use your name, and all the ways I’d anticipated using it, I still get to use your name.

Yes, your name makes lots of people uncomfortable. For a lot of different reasons. But your name isn’t for them.

Your story matters too much to force it on people who can’t, won’t or just don’t. For whatever reason.

I get to use your name. When I share your life with people who will listen. When I applied to graduate school. When I tell people what kind of work I do. When my youngest daughter announces to our present company that all the pink and purple flowered trees are for you, her big sister. When I make parenting decisions that I know are because of all we’ve done and haven’t done with you. When I realize that I am making too big a deal of something that doesn’t matter. When I am afraid of pain and remember how brave you were.

Your name is the undercurrent to any ounce of courage I have.

I get to use your name, with the people who will listen. I hope they believe me when I say it is enormous gift it to use your name.





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    Franchesca Cox

    Franchesca Cox

    Franchesca Cox is the founder and Editor of Still Standing Magazine. She is currently seeking her Master's in Occupational Therapy, a yogi and author of Celebrating Pregnancy Again and Facets of Grief, a creative workbook for grieving mothers. Learn more about her heartwork on her website.

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    4 Comments

    1. Reply

      Marina Hanekom

      June 29, 2017

      Dear Francheska

      Oh my God. I can literally not breathe having read this. It is so beautiful. It is so real. It is so much how I feel. But it is so, so painful. And so, so unfair. I’m sorry for your loss. And for mine. And for all of us.

      xMarina
      Chloe’s mum

      • Franchesca Cox
        Reply

        Franchesca Cox

        June 29, 2017

        Thank you so much for reading. Sending big love to you x

    2. Reply

      Jessica

      June 29, 2017

      Yes! I am sitting here a sobbing mess because this is me, I feel all of this. Thank you a thousand times for writing this, but I’m so sorry you know the pain. Sending hugs to all the mommas and daddies out there who will forever miss their child. In my opinion, we are the strongest of people. Mommy loves you Kennedy Jaymes!

    3. Reply

      Jodie Moss

      June 30, 2017

      Thankyou for writing this. Coming up to my sons 6th stillbirthday and I often feel those new in my life don’t hear me say his Name. I want to talk about him at preschool, with the other mums, about playing football. Instead I have to taabout him in his loss and memory.

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