Don’t be afraid to say their name.
The kids were busy playing, the chaos of the birthday weekend had arrived. Between the party and the excitement of turning 5-years-old, we kept the gifts in the corner. Eventually, our daughter would find the time to open them.
The next morning as we reminisced over her special day, I started handing presents to my daughter to open. I jotted down the gifts, while she squealed in excitement over every new toy. And then one present caught my eye. On a gift bag filled with outdoor toys, were two cards taped to the outside. One read, “Abby,” the other read, “Parker.”
These two names I hold so close to my heart. Two names I think about constantly, especially this time of year. It’s those two names that take my breath away. As I watched my daughter open her gift, my eyes began to well up with tears. Peyton, Parker and Abby are triplets, but strangers would never know that. What they see is a thriving little girl and most assume she’s an only child. Yet, she has a brother and sister, two siblings who are often talked about in our home.
I ran my finger over the name on the envelope and then opened up the card. “Happy Birthday Abby,” was written by my dear friend. A similar message was written inside Parker’s card. A lump formed in my throat as a wave of emotions consumed me. Joy, sadness, and an overwhelming sense of pride took a hold of me. It’s something I am used to being a parent to children in both heaven and on earth.
Tears are part of that “new normal,” even five years later. As a parent of child loss, we long for people to say our children’s names. Sometimes it makes people uncomfortable, but for us, it’s a feeling of immense love knowing our children are not forgotten.
As I stared at these two cards, I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy. Parker and Abby have never received a birthday card. They passed away within two months of being born, never making it to their first birthday.
I was jolted back to reality as my daughter crawled onto my lap, wondering why I was opening her gifts. I showed her the two cards with the names Parker and Abby and she smiled as we said “Happy Birthday” up to Heaven.
Chances are, you know someone who has lost a child. Don’t be afraid to say their name. While you may think it’s difficult to be reminded of our loss, it’s actually the opposite. By saying their name, you are reminding the world that our children existed.
This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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