Monday, November 23, 2020
Home > My Babies > Calvin Phoenix > N is for their Names (One way of knowing)

N is for their Names (One way of knowing)

A names provides a way for people to identify you, to address and make contact with you; it’s a way someone brings you into their world, into a moment through an invocation of sound, of breath and letters. And so it is with our children, even the ones who have died.

—Especially for the ones who have died.

Balloons N is for their NamesI received these photos from Shauna, who has lost two babies: Janessa and, more recently, Hope. On her birthday, she decided to release Angel Balloons as a way to respect her new grief and to honor babies who have died.


There is such power in their names, in the meaning of their names, in saying and hearing and writing and seeing their names. The act of naming Calvin, Rainbow, and Gaelen validates me as their parent. Being able to speak of them by name, seeing and hearing their names mentioned by others, assures me that they were real—they are real—and shows me that they aren’t forgotten.

A name is made of letters, of sounds, but what a sweet timbre in my ears, what a precious cadence these words play in my chest: Calvin Phoenix. Rainbow. Gaelen Evangeline.

I believe that naming my babies has been healing not only for me and for my husband but also for those who love me, my husband, and our children. My babies’ names give my family and friends a way to connect to them apart from me. Though they’ve never met my children in the physical sense, knowing them by name provides an intimacy, a connection in which I’m not needed as a intermediary, an additional way to strengthen their relationship to my god child, my nephew, my niece, my grandchild (and I do love hearing those words spoken about my babies, too).

What do you call your babies who are no longer here?

Did you chose a traditional name? Have you chosen a nickname instead? Please share them with me. I’d love to know your babies’ in this way and to say their names aloud.

And if you haven’t named the baby you lost, I encourage you to consider it. Even if you didn’t know whether your baby was a girl or a boy, you can choose a name that is gender-neutral (Ari, Cadence, Jackie, June, Lee, Robbie, Ty, are just a few examples), or you can choose a name for the gender you felt your baby was. You can also choose a nickname (Baby Bean, Glow Worm, Gummy Bear, Little One, etc.) to call your baby. Of course, there is no pressure. We all mourn differently and find different ways of honoring our sweet babies.

This post is a part of a series called Unpacking Grief, which I began as part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

Crystal is a mother-wife-writer whose explorations include parenting, grief, food, and semi-crunchy living. She is currently an MFA in writing student, a content editor for Still Standing Magazine, and the technical editor for Switchback.

0 thoughts on “N is for their Names (One way of knowing)

  1. I always wondered if it was just me that placed so much importance on a name. So many people seem to not want to choose a name ‘just in case’, but that is exactly why I needed to have names from the start. Our first child is called Arthur, my mum believes my first pregnancy was a girl, and I like to think of our little girl Arthur in heaven that one day we will meet.

    1. I love that you have a little girl named Arthur waiting for you in heaven; I’m sure she’s just precious. It’s definitely not just you with the names–I feel the same way.

  2. I haven’t been able to comment for days so don’t think I have forgotten you. Yes, I think it is good to name our babies that left too soon. You have something to call them and I think it helps validate their sweet life.
    i was looking at your other recent posts and I cringed at what the aunt said about you at the hospital. Yes, you did really give birth to a baby. xoxo

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

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