If you’ve been following my grief journey here on [Still]Gracious, you probably came across my post Someone Said Her Name. This was the first time that I heard someone say “Joanna” referring to a child who was not mine.
It’s not often I hear her name, and since that first time, I can’t even remember hearing it out and about, other than when Bill and I oh-so-happily binge on Fixer Upper.
But last night, at our support group of all places, my heart broke, over and over again. A grand total of six times. Yes, I was counting.
A new loss family came to our meeting, their son recently passed at six months old. This family also has three living children. One of their daughters, Johanna.
I realize the name is not quite the same. But oh, how is rolls of the tongue just as beautifully, sounding so similar, cutting my soul like a knife.
Every time she said her name, my heart dropped. Every time she said her name, my stomach churned.
The fifth time, I got up and left. I had this unrealistic idea that if I stepped out, by the time I came back she wouldn’t mention her living daughter again. Of course, I was wrong, but I knew my limit at that moment and I did what I had to do.
This was a very new experience, because the group is a safe place where you expect to go and heal. To talk to people who fully understand you. To grieve with other loss families and to support each other.
I’m still struggling today, wishing I could talk about my Joanna as that mom spoke of her Johanna: happy, healthy, alive.