What’s in a name? Well, a lot of things. Meaning, purpose, identity. Your name is who you are. It was the one thing that was given to you when you entered this world and the one thing that you take with you when you leave it.
But even then, your name actually lives on even after you die. Your loved ones say your name often when telling stories of who you were and what you did. Your name takes on a new meaning after death. It becomes sacred. It lives on in the memories spoken. It lives on in the child they named after you. It lives on in the tattoo they got in your honor. It lives on as a painting in the sky with every sunset seen while thinking of you. It lives on with every wave that crashes upon the shore. Your name is whispered in the wind and delivered in dreams. When all else is gone, your name remains.
When you are young, your name is your reputation. When you are old, your name is your legacy. And when you have moved on to the afterlife, your name is authority.
And when a loved one passes from this life to the next, their name is all they take with them. And it’s also all they leave behind.
Is this why it’s so hard to say her name? Because it carries so much weight? Hearing her name, reading her name, speaking her name, it brings a pain I can’t describe. The memories still hurt, the tragedy still so fresh. And yet, saying her name also brings comfort. It’s a 2 sided coin, really. My eyes become flooded every time I say her name, and yet when I’m feeling the ache of her absence, saying her name is my only resolution.
When I don’t know what to do, I say her name. When I’m tired I say her name. When I’m lonely I say her name. When I’ve got good news I say her name. When I’m excited about something, I say her name. Now that she is gone, her name has authority. It brings power and strength to her memory and it brings power and strength to us left behind. Saying her name won’t bring her back, but it reminds her that we still need her.
I picture it like this: Shyra is flitting around Heaven visiting everyone she knows and loves that have gone there before her and even the new recruits that have joined her since. She brings them wine and flowers and stays for a bit hearing about how they are and then goes to the next heavenly house. Maybe at this one she stays and plays a few rounds of cards. The next place she visits, they sing karaoke and have a dance party. She’s beautiful and healthy and all the worry lines on her face are gone and she’s truly loving her afterlife. In the midst of her social butterfly Heaven, she hears a faint bell ringing in her ears. She pauses and turns her head as if trying to hear more clearly. What she hears is me saying “Hi Shyra, I miss you, I love you”. And then she smiles when she recognizes my voice and she drops what’s she’s doing and sends me a love note back to let me know she’s heard me and she loves me and misses me too.
The love note varies because possibilities are endless in Heaven. Sometimes it’s a butterfly flying near my car as I’m driving. Sometimes it’s a warm feeling of her arms around me. Sometimes she actually speaks and I hear her sweet voice! Other times she shows up in my dreams. Sometimes she shows up in the sunset or the twinkling stars. Sometimes she shows up in a thought that came out of nowhere.
Each time is different, but I know she hears me say her name and acts on it so that I am reminded that she is ok. I will never stop saying her name. It has power, authority, and strength. It is the one thing that connects my earthly self to her heavenly self. I dare you to try it! Say her name and see what happens!
Acknowledge the loss. Even when it hurts. Don’t be afraid to say her name. Call your family or friend that lost a loved one and acknowledge it. Avoidance does more damage. Show them you care by saying her name. It’s the silence that kills so speak up, even if it’s awkward. A loss so great deserves to be spoken of.
At the end of the day when the world gets quiet, this is when it hurts the most. It’s in the stillness that the ache in my heart starts screaming. A phone call or text of thoughtfulness just might help the pain & loneliness feel a little less loud at that moment. If you’re still alive and breathing, don’t waste it. Reach out to those hurting and be bold enough to acknowledge the truth, even if it hurts.
Say her name, friends. She is listening.