It has been said that people love to hear the sound of their name.
I think for those of us who have lost someone we love, the sound of our beloved's name is even more precious to our ears.
After John died, I had the need to keep his memory alive. I needed to keep him real and present in my life. The first thing I did was print out pictures from our life together and hang those memories on the walls of our home. I made our hallway into a family memory gallery filled with happy photos of our life - our pets, our relatives, but mostly, pictures of John - vacation shots, baby pictures his mother had saved, candid photos I loved.
I remember a friend who I had not seen in quite a while visited me a few months after John's death. Her comment to me was "Don't you think you have too many photos of John hanging around the house?"
The other thing that became important to me after John died was finding ways to keep his memory current in my life. To continue to keep him in my present, not just in my past. And the way I did that was to say his name. To talk about him - telling stories of our life together, talking about how he continued to show up in my life by signs he gave me, saying his name with love, not sadness. It took time. There were tears in the beginning. And I am sure that it made some people uncomfortable. But I was lucky to have those around me who understood. Sometimes, our friends fear to mention the deceased person's name because they think it will make us sad. What are they afraid of? That it will remind us our loved one has died? We know. We will never forget that. What we fear is that their memory will die, too.
It is up to us to teach others that we can celebrate the life of someone who we love who has died. We can say their name. Tell their stories. Share what matters and smile. And being sad is okay too. It's life. All of it. The good, the sad, the hurt, the joyful.
Say their name. Love their life. Rejoice in what we have been blessed to have.