Someone Said Her Name

Bill and I talk about Joanna and we use her name often. She is the most spectacular thing that has happened to us in our lives so far and we daily acknowledge her as our first born, as our baby girl.

We also love it when others talk about her or ask us questions and call her by her name. To know that others recognize her as our baby, not just “the child who died” is so special and appreciated.

Such a sweet name, Joanna Rose.

Yesterday I went to see a movie with a friend. As we walked up to the concessions counter, a woman and her young daughter came in who were meeting up with a small group of their friends. The group was to our left and from behind us I heard the mom say, “I see Joanna!”

Instant trigger. I felt the tears immediately jump to my eyes. My stomach dropped. I looked at my friend and said, “That has never happened before.” I begged the tears not to spill over and did not look to my left to try to determine who this “other” Joanna was…

I have never met or bumped into anyone named Joanna before. This was the first time since our Joanna died that I have heard the name used for anyone else. It caught me off guard.

I’m not sure what was worse. To hear someone say her name but not to or about her, or to know there was a little girl next to me named Joanna who is going to get to do all the things our Joanna won’t.

It’s truly amazing how grief can just open wide in an instant. The night before Mother’s Day was the first time I had cried myself to sleep in a while. This is because I’m slowly getting to the point where I know for a fact that this is not just a nightmare. I will not wake up and have my baby back. I’ve begun to accept it, to live with the knowledge and try to live a life my daughter would be proud of. I’ve been trying my best to sleep without the help of a sleep aid. I no longer take Elephant with me everywhere I go. I am finally feeling some healing. Then boom — right back into the thick of it.

Just a stranger who said her name.

Oh, how my heart is hurting today.