Speak their name

We find ourselves in uncertain times. For weeks now we’ve been quarantined away from our own lives, and it is getting old, very old. However, I’m sure you have found like I have, that not all is unpleasant. Some have reconnected as families. Some have had to slow down, get off the treadmill and recoup. And, some have finally picked up that paint brush and watercolors, dusted off their

old band flute from eighth My mother’s name was Jane

grade, or actually read a book,

or two or three. Those folks will weather this inconvenience and once this is over, they will get back to their lives.

However, not all of us will and it is to those I want to connect with today. The virus has taken a loved one from you. A grandparent, a parent, a mate, a sibling, an aunt or uncle or a child. Gone. Summer plans were being made. Weddings were being planned. Graduation or Anniversaries were marked on the calendar. Retirements were on the horizon. Gone. All of it. I can only imagine how you feel seeing folks protesting in the streets without masks or regard for others. They want their jobs back and I understand that. But, you want your loved one back. Jobs will come back. Those you loved will not.

I understand loss all too well. My husband, the great love of my life died six years ago from cancer two short weeks before our 42nd Anniversary. My momma left this world only seven months ago at age 92. She truly was the wind beneath my wings. Gone. I am altered and will never be the same again. So, yes, I know loss and I know at this moment that your heart has slipped from your body, and that more than once you have found yourself bawling in the bathroom with a towel over your mouth.

To you, those who are grieving, there is hope. You don’t feel it or even care right now, but you will. It is the light at the end of the tunnel, the long, dark, winding, ugly tunnel. It is there waiting for you when you are ready. Its spark will lead you gently forward and give you courage to accept what’s next. It will give you strength to push the covers off of you in the mornings, to get dressed, feed yourself and to prepare for forward motion.

I’ve got lots of advice for you, but none you can hear right now. So, I will tell you just this one thing. It was something someone told me in the early days of mourning. Speak their names. Ask others to not be afraid to speak their names. Lean into the winds of grief and remember they were here. They made an impact. They were loved. They loved. They were funny. They were charming. They were compassionate and passionate. They were generous and kind. Their life mattered. Speak their name and it will feel like a cage door has been unlocked and make their absence more bearable.

You lost them in such a public way. Their death became a national statistic, a news item. Some have already forgotten the personal toll this pandemic has cost you as they thoughtlessly endanger others by their actions. But most of us, mourn with you and ask you to help us not forget what we’ve lost.

Speak their name. Tell their stories. Allow the memories to do what God intended them to do. Heal.

Speak their name.


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