Why do people avoid saying the name of the deceased? A friend facing the anniversary of her husband’s death was hurt that friends no longer said her husband’s name. She finally asked them why and they told her they were afraid his name would make her sad. She’s already sad that her husband died and she thinks about him all the time; she told her friends she likes to talk about him, too.
That reminded me of a story another friend shared. It was the anniversary of the death of her 21-year old neighbor. Although she remembered the date, she didn’t plan to send a card or call her friend because she didn’t want to remind her of her loss. I explained that her friend was thinking about her son all the time, especially on the anniversary of his death. If she were to reach out to her, she would make her friend feel supported and not so alone in her grief.
It can be awkward to broach the subject, but why not give it a try. Let a friend know that you think of “Peter,” her deceased spouse, every time you eat coffee ice cream, his favorite. Or around the anniversary of a neighbor’s daughter’s death, let them know that you’ll never forget “Lisa’s” wonderful smile. Or, share with someone that something reminded you of “Tim” and just the thought of him made you feel good. You’ll make them feel good, too!
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.