One of the greatest gifts people have given us in our grief has been the gift of using Alexander’s name without the fear of making us sad. Because trust me, we’re still sad about losing our son, and you won’t make us more sad by using his name and acknowledging his existence.
There’s a lot of backstory to Alexander’s name, and it’s a name that we love for a tiny human who we love more than anything in the whole world–a tiny human whose name we will never get to say or hear nearly enough, simply because he isn’t here. We won’t get to yell it when he’s bad, or shout it from the sidelines of a soccer field, or hear it said at his wedding. But I promise you this: we will also never forget it.
Since Alexander isn’t with us on this side of heaven, parenting to us looks a whole lot like making sure this sweet boy of ours is remembered.
This kind of parenthood can be a heavy burden to bear when there isn’t a sweet little boy to dress up in adorable outfits or to take pictures of to post all over social media. What we do have is a handful of beautiful pictures that the hospital arranged to have taken, memories from the 34+4 weeks of pregnancy where Alexander did gymnastics in my belly and kicked his furbrother Hiro in the face with love, the precious moments we spent holding him in the hospital after he was born into Jesus’ arms, and a name: Alexander Scott Haligowski.
So we use his name and we tell his brief but beautiful story – the story of a boy named Alexander who taught us the true meaning of unconditional love.
The people around us who are unafraid to sweetly speak or share Alexander’s name are some of our most cherished burden bearers. I will never grow tired of hearing his name spoken, or of seeing it written with so much love in a card or message, or of seeing a picture of something that reminded a friend of our boy shared with the hashtag #AlexanderScott.
Last weekend, Scott and I were caught in a crazy storm while attending a local outdoor concert. After the storm rolled through I received this message from a friend who lives in our neighborhood:
On Alexander’s one month anniversary in heaven, so many of our friends and family lit candles and shared them to social media with Alexander’s name:
I have cherished moments and coffee dates and meetings with dear friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ where we can talk about Alexander using his name. Where we can share his story.
And, yes. Sometimes I might tear up when someone says his name. But I promise you it’s not because saying his name has made me any more sad than I already was. I cry because I am so happy that someone else is helping to bear this burden–that someone else is remembering him, and loving him even in his absence. It’s the most beautiful burden bearing of all.
So say his name in conversations. Write his name in cards and text messages and facebook messages when you are thinking of him. Help us to bear the burden by making sure Alexander Scott Haligowski is not forgotten. Because I promise you this: we will never forget.