Why It’s Important to Talk About Your Children Who Are No Longer Here

Have you ever noticed how much people clam up and will not mention a child’s name when child loss has taken place?  To bereaved parents, this is one of the biggest hurts of all.  What we need — what we’re wanting so desperately — is to know that our child has not been forgotten!  Hearing our child’s name spoken is the sweetest name we can ever hear!  I am a bereaved mom, and I know that for me to hear the names of my sons who are no longer here with me is both a comfort and support.

Samuel was born still and during that time twenty-five years ago, sadly parents were not encouraged to talk about their deceased children.  That was especially true for parents of early loss such as miscarriage, stillbirths, and ectopic pregnancies.  Everything was “hush-hush” and we were often made to feel “odd” or a bit “crazy” to want to name our child, much less talk about our child.

I wrote in great depth about this in my first book on child loss, “Silent Grief.”  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that things have gradually changed for the better over the years!  Today, it is not unusual at all for miscarried babies to be named, and it is certainly encouraged for all stillborn babies to be named, held, have pictures taken, and to have some kind of special memorial service.  Oh, how healing those things are!

And, how special to be able to hear the name of your baby being spoken many years later by those who remember!

Just hearing someone speak of my baby Samuel is music to by broken heart!

In May of 2015 my son Michael (Mike) died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.  There are no words that can describe the depth of grief that I feel as Mike’s mom.  Nor are there words to describe what his siblings and his wife and three children are feeling.  Mike’s friends are grieving, and they have expressed how much they, too, miss him!

Part of my daily strength comes from hearing the name “Mike” spoken to me.  Yes, of course I cry at the mention of his name.  Tears are streaming down my face now as I write his name.  But, the best thing that anyone can do for me right now is to say Mike’s name.  I want to hear his name.  I “need” to near his name.

I need to know that Mike is not forgotten. And, when I hear his name spoken by someone I know that Mike is remembered!

I work very hard every day to make certain that my little baby Samuel is not forgotten. Even though he never got to spend one waking second alive on this earth he was my son, and I loved him with everything in me.  I held him.  I counted his little fingers and toes.  And, I agonized for years over the fact that nobody would speak his name to me because they didn’t know what to say or how to say it.

In an attempt to help others know that it’s so important to speak the names of our children who are no longer hear with us on this earth, I’ve made a short video speaking from my heart to yours about why it’s so important to validate the life of every child by speaking that child’s name.

As you listen to my heart speaking, it is my prayer that you will be comforted in knowing that it’s normal and healing to want to hear your child’s name being spoken.  Please, please share this video with others so that they, too, will understand why it’s so important for every bereaved parent to hear the precious name of their child spoken by others.

It’s time to break the chains of silence!  Talk about your children — ALL of them!  Learn to be comfortable speaking the name of your child who is no longer here.  And, when you become comfortable doing this, others will become more comfortable, too.

It’s sad that as bereaved parents we have to lead the way to breaking the silence that surrounds child loss, but if we want things to change it’s up to us.

I hope you’ll feel comfortable mentioning your child’s name here in the comment section.  I want to hear your child’s name.  Others want to hear your child’s name spoken. 

The time to break the silence is now.

Love,

Clara — Samuel and Mike’s mom forever and always

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62 Comments

  1. Thanks Clara! I love to speak the name of my beloved Son Quentin!!! Always loved and never, never forgotten!!! Quentin’s mom, Kathy

    1. Catherine, It’s so comforting and healing to hear the name of our children, isn’t it? I’m so glad you love to talk about your son, Paul! 🙂

  2. Well-expressed! The best thing a friend can do for me is to talk freely about my daughter Georgina xxxx

    1. Michelle,
      I’m so happy to see Brantlee’s name here and to know that you talk about him often! I know that there is healing in saying our child’s name!

  3. Waylon was only here with us from 5/16/12-7/22/12. SIDS forever changed our lives. I am not who I once was. There are only about 3 people that will speak of Waylon. I get so frustrated because he was my son! He was here, he lived and breathed even if it was a short time. I do not want him forgotten, as it seems to me has happened. I know a lot has to do with people afraid they will upset you. I can bring his name up and the subject gets changed. I and trying to bring awareness. #GoPinkAndBlue Add some blue to your pink in honor of child, infant, and pregnancy loss. October is not only about breast cancer! I challenge you all to #GoPinkAndBlue

    1. Sarah, First of all, I’m so very, very sorry for the loss of your sweet Waylon. I hope and pray that you will continue to work hard to help change the way we deal with early child loss. You’re right — so many people think they are helping us by NOT mentioning our child’s name, especially when the loss was an early loss such as with Waylon. Keep on fighting to keep his memory alive! I love your idea of #GoPinkAndBlue for October!

      Do you have a copy of the book “Silent Grief”? If not, I urge you to get a copy as it has a lot of ideas to help you find ways to keep Waylon’s memory alive and to help others to use his name. We absolutely must continue to work hard to break the silence and stigma of child loss!

  4. To not hear my little girl’s name Chelsy-Robyn is to forget her existence and even though we only had her bless us for 3 years of her life, she gave us a lifetime of memories that need to be remembered.

    1. Penny, You are so, so right! It is painful to NOT hear our child’s name mentioned. Three years seems like such a short time on this earth, but I’m certain that Chelsy-Robyn filled your heart with enough love and smiles and joy to last a million years. Thank you so much for your comment!

    1. Cheryl, May special blessings come to you tomorrow as you remember Curtis on his birthday. I hope he is celebrating big time in heaven — hopefully with my Mike! 🙂

  5. my granddaughter, Amber, was only 14. it delights me to talk about her to anyone who will listen. bless you and your sons. vk

    1. I’m so happy that you’ve mentioned your granddaughter, Amber. I’m so very sorry for your loss, but buy talking about Amber it helps to keep her memory alive, and that is so very important!

  6. How could anyone who ever knew him ever forget Mike! He was so special and so “one of a kind”. He was loved by all, respected in his fellow businessmen and enjoyed by all who were privileged to know him. There will never be another Mike. His oldest son, Dominic is so like him in so many ways. As long as we have Dominic we will still have Mike with us! Thank you, Lord Jesus for sharing Mike with us even if it was just a a short while. He was so loved and is so missed!

    1. Betty, I’m smiling as I’m reading this. It’s so true — how could anyone forget Mike? 🙂 He really was a one-of-a-kind and Dominic is definitely a carbon copy (for which I’m so thankful). It’s so nice for me to hear Mike’s name being said and I LOVE hearing stories being told about him. It’s helps so much — doesn’t make him feel so far away.

  7. We love to hear our Daughter, Faith Danielle Joseph, mentioned. We miss her everyday, and shall never forget her, missed by mom and Dad, She was born on July 21st 1998 and passed on February 19th 2008.

    1. What an absolutely beautiful name — Faith Danielle is!!!! Thank you so very much for sharing your daughter’s name with us. I’m sure she was a special daughter in a thousand different ways. May you always talk of Faith Danielle and always keep her memory alive!

      1. I have lost 2 sons in the last 2 years Chuckie and Josh and I don’t want them forgotten. Some times when I don’t hear their name said I feel as if they have been forgotten and I can’t stand it. I will always say their name.

        1. Dear Donna, Oh, how very sad this makes me to hear of the loss of two sons, Chuckie and Josh. It’s so very important for you to continue to talk about them — use their names every day. As a mother, I believe part of our love to our children is to keep them memory alive forever!!! Thank you so much for sharing Chuckie and Josh with us!

    1. Tina, I love the name “Garrett” — it’s such a strong name! I’m so very sorry that Garrett left this earth so soon. May God bless you as you remember him and keep his life and memories of him alive!

  8. We are coming up on the 2 year mark of our son Tyler’s death. Shortly after that will be what would have been his 21st birthday. It truly is a gift when someone shares a memory of him with us. Just knowing someone is thinking of and remembering Tyler means so much.

    1. Jane, I hope your friends and family members will share tons and tons of stories about Tyler with you! You’re so very right — it is so comforting just knowing that others remember our child and that they truly are thinking of our child!

    1. Jeanne, I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear Jeremy. I hope that just by mentioning his name you receive some comfort. My love to you.

  9. My son’s Name was Michel Gravelle.Most people called him Mike.He died in a car accident 19 years ago at the age of 21.I have 2 other sons Vincent and Serge.We talk about Michel all the time.I love to hear his name and to hear of the good memories.I miss him every day and always will.One year after my Michel died his beautiful 2 year old daughter Renee passed away of heart problems.life has been hard but what keeps me going is knowing I will be with them some day.

    1. Rosy, Of course I LOVE to hear the name Mike — that is my son’s name who took his wings on May 22 of this year. I’m so very sorry for your losses, and I’m so glad you talk freely about your Mike all of the time. I, too, wait on the hope that one day we will be reunited again, and what a party that is going to be! Thank you so much for sharing your Mike and Renee with us!

  10. Yes I my self have lost a 3.day old infant son .Keith .in May 24th.1968…..An in May 14th 2014 …I lost my second son Patrick sudden . Of an aneurysm of the aortic…it was an still is a shock …he was .39…a good son …my husband was in another Hospital .at the time …I was a lone ….I don’t know how to go on living with out him he lived at home …..I to like to talk about my 2.sons …we talk about Patrick everyday .my husband an I. am so sorry about your loss o c Samuel an Mike …an I fill like this silent grief child loss …helps me I to set in Patrick room an talk to him ..an set at his grave an play some songs …an talk to him. …some time s I thank he is with me ….I fill him …an alone in my truck ..I put his picture an watch he loved so much in the passenger seat….what ever it takes to help me ..an then some days I can’t do nothing but miss him so much that I cry an cry …..so again thanks for this …help. Angela .C….Chattanooga .Tenn .

    1. Dear Angela, My heart aches with you over the loss of your sweet baby Keith and your precious Patrick. Sometimes it almost feels like it’s too much — all of this pain. I’m so very glad that you have found ways to talk to your Patrick and to keep him alive with you. I, too, love seeing pictures of my Mike — I keep a picture of him with me all of the time and look at it several times every day. I, too, talk to my Mike and it helps so much. Angela, we who know this kind of heartbreak are among a special group of people. I believe one day when we meet with our children again it’s going to be the most special joy anyone can ever experience. Hold on to that hope!

    1. Peggy, Thank you! Thank you so very much for giving a beautiful shout out to Samuel, Michael, and Cory. Beautiful words to my ears!

  11. My son Anthony was just 33,5 year anniversary on 16th October 2015,my heart is still and forever more breaking xx We are planting a tree at the Broadwater today and setting him free………………xx

    1. Norma, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son Anthony. What a beautiful tribute to Anthony to set him free by planting a tree in his honor and memory. If you take a picture, please be sure to share it with us.

      1. Thankyou Clara ,I think it helped his brother Dean also,he organized everything,just so beautiful what he had pepared for him.xx

  12. Just recently passed was years my Kyle was killed while riding his bike; he was only 300m from home, at 15 years old I was so proud of him, he had his head on, very respectful and helpful to others, I always spent time with him from the time he was born right up to his death, between end of Aug., past Feb., we used to hunt together; every year during these months is hard, very hard on me…not a day goes by I think of him, sometimes I talk to him outside and that is when he speaks to me when the breeze will gust…

    1. Eric, I’m so very, very sorry for the bike accident that took the life of your Kyle. What a sad tragedy — my heart aches with you. I’m so very glad you have been able to share about Kyle with us here, and I think it’s wonderful that you talk to him outside and that you can hear him in the soft, gentle breezes. Please keep talking to him — that will help you in this difficult, painful journey of child loss. Prayers to you.

      1. Thanks so much for your reply…sorry I meant to say, 5yrs ago this happen…I really appreciate this blog and the face-book page, “Silent Grief – Child Loss Support”. Before I found this page, I had gone to two other counselors and I couldn’t continue to pay the first one at 750 dollars a month…I later seen another lady through a referral from my doctor at Essex County Mental Health; driving an hour to get there, for me, It didn’t make any sense…I was told there’s a group of fathers who gathered once monthly at 07hr00 on a Sunday for breakfast in the city and again, one hour drive…is that normal regarding our situation?
        I didn’t even want to think about waking early to do this because I don’t sleep well like I did before my son passed. Those people at the E.C.M.H. never called me back, no email nothing…I do get more from this blog and the face-book page…I cannot get over how true the statements are…it’s like we’re in our world; I can deal with that; more so than going to sessions…I do avoid crowds, so many times I thought I seen Kyle and even avoid some family members… at one point in 2012, my older sister told me, “Let go…move on” her tone I perceived as like mean…you know later in 2013 her son, my nephew at 40 yrs, ended his life with a shotgun… to this day, I avoid her and others due to their ways…my 20 yr marriage went to pieces; now I’m with someone who is very supportive, and she takes very good understanding care of me…yes I do talk a lot of my Kyle, Laurie encourages me to do so in many ways…this makes me feel free and it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to chat away about my Kyle and she loves to hear about our adventures…I really will be checking in/out here, BIG HUGS and kind thanks to you all!
        Kindness,
        Eric

        1. Eric,
          You have no idea how much your words mean to me — just knowing that you’ve found a place that is safe for you to come to (the FB page and this blog), and that you’re receiving the support you need right now. That’s exactly my purpose — to provide this kind of much-needed support! I understand how difficult it is when people say things that are hurtful. Believe me, I think everyone of us has had something very hurtful said to us since our child died. I’m so glad you’ve found someone to share your life with who is loving and supportive and who encourages you to talk about your son. Keep on talking. Keep on sharing. Keep on doing what you’re doing. This is a difficult journey we’re on, BUT there are better days ahead! No, we won’t ever be the same, but….we will definitely be able to find a new kind of joy while still remembering our child who left us far, far too soon. Again, thank you so much for your comment.

  13. My name is Roxanne and my 15 year old son was killed in a tragic car accident on 2-3-15. He was my everything. I am a single mom and he was the man of the house. I have a 10 year old daughter and I still have to be a mother to her but some days I don’t know what to do because I still miss my son like if it just happened yesterday. Then people tell me I need t o move on and that really makes me made.

    1. Roxanne, I’m so very sorry to hear of the tragic death of your son. Since your son’s accident was only a few months ago, you’re very, very early on this journey we call child loss. Please don’t listen to people who are telling you to “move on” right now as what they are really saying is, “Be quiet. We’re getting tired of hearing about this and we’re sad to see you looking so sad.” Your mind and body need time to adjust to this horrific loss and only you will know how much time that is going to take. You’ll know when you are ready to take that first baby step back to re-enter life again. For now, face your grief head-on. If you try to rush grief, it always comes back in full force. I hope and pray today is a more gentle day for you. Please know that I sincerely care.

    2. Hello Roxanne, I too lost my son 5yrs ago; he was 15…Clara is right to not listen to folks that are negative. I have a few family members that kept telling me this as well…”let go and move on”. Those are the harshest words anyone can say to a parent, whether the parent lost a child at any given age at any time…we don’t really know each other, but we all share the same… Clara is so kind, real words to follow…
      Kindness,
      Eric P.

  14. Thank you for this. I lost ashley at the age of 26 in a fatal car accident. I am raising her 6 year old son. I feel her loss every day.

    1. Donna, I’m so very sorry for the tragic loss of your daughter Ashley. Life sure can be painfully difficult! I hope and pray that healing and joy will come to your heart as you raise her six-year-old son. What a difficult loss for her son, too. I’m so glad that you were able to comment and that you’ve mentioned Ashley’s name. I think there’s such strength in doing that!

    1. Celeste, You’re so very welcome. I think we all need to hear validation that it’s okay (and good for us) to mention our child’s name often. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your Jordi Marie (such a beautiful name).

  15. I lost my 17 yr old son Deker just 14 months ago…every day I miss his so much…he is my middle son. I talk about it but it seems I can only talk about him with certain people…I need him to be remembered

    1. Teresa, I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son Deker. There is definitely a tendency for people to hush us when we want/need to talk about our children who have died. Personally, I think most people are so terribly uncomfortable that they totally avoid the subject. How sad! 🙁 I’m so glad that you’re talking about Deker and I encourage you to continue to talk about him and to find ways to keep his precious and special memory alive!

  16. I Am So Sorry For Your Losses It is So Very Painful and My Thoughts and Prayers are With You and All of Us Who are Suffering the Loss of Our Child…. I Love Your Posts they are Exactly how I’m Feeling When I’m Reading them…. Love and Hugs <3

    1. Deborah, Thank you so very, very much. I feel like I’m covered in love by “family” — those of us who have lost a child know what is on the heart of each other. We understand our mutual pain, and it helps so much to know we’re not alone.

      Thank you so much for your virtual hug. You’ve warmed my soul today.

  17. I am so happy I found this site.I want to hear my sons nameS. They are Marc and Lee. They died within 17 months of each other. My son Marc was more recent and I can’t stop thinking about his wonderful ways. I don’t have anyone to talk about him with.

    1. Barbara,
      I’m so very sorry for the loss of your sons Marc and Lee. Please know that you are free to talk about your sons here anytime! We will love and support you. We care. We want to hear about your boys. I, too, love to talk about my sons Samuel and Mike who are no longer here. I think about them all of the time, and my heart literally lights up when someone mentions their names. I’m so very glad you were able to share Marc and Lee here with us!

  18. We lost our precious son” Kyle” on February 21, 2014 after a short 3 week battle with Testicular Cancer. He was only 18 years of age. I try to talk about him every chance I can. His name was music to my ears, even though it still bring tears to my eyes. Just a few weeks ago my Nephew and his girlfriend had a son, and they decided to name him Kyle. I think they thought they were doing something to honor my Kyle….. I don’t know, I have not yet seen the baby. It is devastating to me that they choice his name. One of the first things you are given when you come into this world is the love of your parents and your name. These are the only things that you take with you when you leave this world and now I feel that his name has been taken away from him. I don’t know if I should express my heartbreak to the young couple that is just starting their lives or not.

    1. Kim, First of all I’d love to reach through this computer screen and give you a big hug! I’m so very sorry for the loss of your son Kyle.

      Names are so very important to us, and it’s something we don’t often discuss in groups of bereaved parents. Some parents would feel honored to have their child’s name taken on by another child. Other parents would feel as you do — as if Kyle’s name is no longer “his name, and his alone.”

      I would definitely talk to your nephew and his girlfriend and explain your feelings. I’m assuming their baby Kyle has a middle name. Maybe his parents would allow you to continue to keep your Kyle’s name just for your Kyle (once they understand the circumstances), and use their little boy’s middle name.

      Either way, I do think you should at least talk to them and let them know how you feel. You’ve brought up such a good topic for later thought and discussion. Each parent feels different, I’m sure, and those differences should be respected.

      Thank you for sharing your son “Kyle” with us. Again, I’m so very sorry.

    1. I’m so very, very sorry that your precious Keagan Alexander was born still. 🙁 I share a similar pain, and remember so well the very moment I found out my precious Samuel was going to be born still. May God’s healing touch your heart.

      I wrote a book, “Silent Grief“, after the loss of my Samuel, and I do believe the words in the book will help you, if you are interested. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  19. I’m so glad I came upon this blog. Thank you!
    I am SO sorry for the loss of your 2 boys, Samuel and Mike.
    Oh the pain of a mother’s broken heart…such a HUGE hole!
    You’re right in saying how very important it is to hear our child’s name, to hear stories about their lives after they’ve died! Such a blessing!
    Our first-born son Tyler died on July 21, 2014 due to an automobile accident.
    He was 33 years old, the oldest of 6 children.
    He was married with 4 children…adding to the sadness of him being gone.
    His 9 year old son was with him when he crashed, and didn’t get a scratch!
    The sudden loss was and still is so hard to wrap our head and hearts around.
    As Tyler grew older, he became one of his dad’s and my very best friends.
    We talked on the phone every week, sometimes it was several times a day.
    He was a sensitive guy, talented musician, with an incredible sense of humor!
    (No.29 on I-tunes is his band if you want to hear his original songs “This I Know, and “Higher than I” 🙂 )
    I always told Tyler he was my guinea-pig when it came to parenting.
    Now he’s not here to help me get through this dreadful part of being a mom.
    I miss him every single day…I visit his grave and talk to him a lot…
    The Lord has sent cardinals as a personal reminder of how close Jesus is to me!
    This year has been the hardest year of our entire family’s lives!
    Tyler was an awesome big brother to his 4 sisters, and his 1 baby-brother.
    He was also a great husband, daddy, uncle, employer and friend.
    Words can-not express the heart-break our family is experiencing at this time.
    We are doing our very best to talk, share and work our way through our grief!
    Only with JESUS!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts and memories of Tyler. He sounds like he was such an amazing young man, son, husband, father, and brother! Life is so hard sometimes, especially when we lose a precious child. I’m so glad you’ve found this blog, too, and I hope together we will all find some courage, strength, and a bit of healing!