Naming the Child
My son Andrew died exactly ten years ago today, October 23, 1999, nine days after his first birthday. No one would describe me as emotional. And yet the wound still remains remarkably raw.
Andrew’s short life isn’t a frequent conversation any more, except inside our family, because there is nothing new to talk about. When parents talk about children, it is almost always about how they are changing. Andrew, however, is forever our one-year-old.
Unfortunately for me, memories seem to fade faster than the sense of loss. For my wife, neither the memories nor the pain have faded. I know my wife’s memories remain vivid because they are beautifully captured in a recent book by Jenny Schroedel called Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death. In the book, she recounts the experiences of a number of families who suffered losses like ours. Reading the book, I am amazed at all the things I have forgotten about both Andrew’s life and death.
The title of the book comes from a quote by one of the women who was interviewed who had an ectopic pregnancy: “Naming an unborn child is a powerful thing. It is a way to acknowledge to the world what God already knows. A way to say ‘life is precious — this life is precious.’”
This is not the sort of book you read for fun at the beach, but if you know someone who recently miscarried or lost a young child, I highly recommend it.