Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What's in a Name?

We had a sudden problem.

It wasn't that we had learned that one of our sons had just died.
It wasn't that our minds felt like they were racing out of control.
It was the name.

Eight Names.
We had to come up eight names. We didn't learn the genders of our babies so we came up with eight names. Two firsts and middles for girls and two firsts and middles for boys.

The boy names were easy.
One month before I was born, my mom's only sibling, her younger brother, died. He was only 27 years old. Killed in a car accident on his father's birthday. There was no Christmas tree that year, but there was a new hope. A little baby. A great distraction. A first grandchild, born on Christmas Eve. Me.

Over the years I listened and they listened. They were the most amazing people I knew. The most amazing couple. The most amazing parents. The most amazing grandparents. I would ask questions and they would answer and I learned more from them and their lives then I ever would in any book or any classroom. I learned about life and I learned about death. I learned about God and His grace and His mercy. I learned about love.

They were the Jonasens and after their son died, so did their name. No one to pass on the name of a family that was so strong and so important. My husband loved them too. The first boy name was obvious for us. It would Jonasen. Named after his great-grandparents. He would carry on their name. He would carry on their history. Our firstborn son would be Jonasen. His middle name after his father's middle name. Our firstborn son would be Jonasen Michael.

The second boy name was my husband's choice. Andrew. He loved the way that "Drew" sounded next to our last name. He would say, "I can just hear it over the speaker at ballgames, 'and there goes Drew Doran with the ball!'" My husband beamed when he said the name and I could see him dreaming- wondering what a future would be like with a son. His middle name would be after my brother, Dan. Our second born son would be Andrew Daniel.

And so we had a problem.

Our first son was gone. Another generation and the name would not be passed on. We had planned our firstborn son to be Jonasen, and now that son was gone.

I could only see my husband's eyes, his red, tired eyes. The rest of him covered as I lie on the operating table. Without asking him the question, he gave the answer. He looked at our first born and said, "This is Andrew."

"No.
We had a plan...
You love the name Andrew."

Looking at our living son he said, "This is Jonasen. Jonasen Michael."

I looked at him again, tears rolling down my face.

"Jonasen needs to live." he whispered.

I knew he was right and I hated that this was happening. That his dream would never come. He would never hear that name over the loud speaker. He would never hear that name.

"But we can come up with another name... We could have another son... You could name him.."
My husband shook his head. No. Tears were rolling down his face.

This was Andrew.
This was our Andrew Daniel.
A very special name for a very special boy.

Just because he didn't stay, didn't mean he wouldn't live. He lives in our hearts and in our minds and his name is spoken. It is spoken in our home. It is spoken by our friends. It is being spoken to you.

Andrew Daniel.

Our very special boy.

3 comments:

  1. Names are so special to me -- and even though I only have a moment tonight, I had to read this entry. Andrew Daniel. A very special name that you will love to say and remember for a lifetime. Someday I will tell you about my four babies' name and why we named them what we did. Maybe I'll start my own blog and do it there. Perhaps. But for now I will simply repeat his name: Andrew Daniel. Maybe he's playing baseball in Heaven and his name is being called right now over a heavenly intercom: "Drew Doran, ladies and gentlemen! What a catch!" A special name, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I think I picked the same title because I've often wondered if we should have done what you and your husband did, swapped the names. Rationally I know it would have made no difference at all. But at the moment I'm always tormented by the idea that if I changed one little thing, she might have made it.

    That was such a generous act, to call your little boy Jonasen. What a beautiful way to honor your mom's family and your uncle.

    Andrew Daniel, a beautiful name. His name is spoken. It is heard here. Thank you for sharing it with me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for your comment on my blog. I think I picked the same title because I've often wondered if we should have done what you and your husband did, swapped the names. Rationally I know it would have made no difference at all. But at the moment I'm always tormented by the idea that if I changed one little thing, she might have made it.

    That was such a generous act, to call your little boy Jonasen. What a beautiful way to honor your mom's family and your uncle.

    Andrew Daniel, a beautiful name. His name is spoken. It is heard here. Thank you for sharing it with me.

    ReplyDelete

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