Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

speak their names

Whenever sadness and loss is present in our lives, the world grows dim in our hearts and minds.  For parents going through such a period in their lives over the death of a child, it is particularly poignant.

I clearly remember when my young niece died and my sister-in-law shared one day that people she knew well seemed to be avoiding her – crossing the street – looking the other way – appearing not to notice – so as not to have to be faced with the pain of not knowing what to say.

How best can we help someone who is grieving for a loved one?

My sister-in-law understood this avoidance, but what she wanted, what she needed was to talk about her little girl.

Recently I read a poem that was presented on a site by a mom I know whose young daughter died about a year ago.  I thought it might be good to share this poem to help all of us realize how powerful it is to remember and speak their loved one’s name.

The Elephant in the Room  by Terry Kettering

There’s an elephant in the room.

It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.

Yet we squeeze by with “How are you?” and “I’m fine”.

And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather.

We talk about work.

We talk about everything else…

Except the elephant in the room.

There’s an elephant in the room.

We all know it is there.

We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.

It is constantly on our minds.

For, you see, it is a very large elephant.

It has hurt us all.

But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.

Oh, please, say his/her name.

Oh, please, say his/her name again.

Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

For if we talk about his/her death,

Perhaps we can talk about his/her life.

Can I say his/her name to you and not have you look away?

For if I cannot, then you are leaving me

Alone …in a room..

with an elephant.

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