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What’s In A Name

jstevenson | Journeys through Grief

What’s in a name? A lot if you ask me.  

In the ancient world, when a person’s name was mentioned in a conversation or a letter, they became present in that moment. Whether they were physically in their presence or not didn’t matter. Their name was enough to make them near at hand.  

Rubem Alves writes, “When a name is remembered, resurrection begins.” When we remember a name, even without speaking it out loud, that person is alive within our mind. They are free. They are unencumbered to love, to smile, to embrace, to direct, to chide, to speak their mind whatever might be upon it at that moment.  

It is the “mystery of love,” as Alves says. Names are distinctive, and they are connected to the person we love. We say their name and it conjures an image in our mind. Their face, their being, their presence, and the way they made us feel. All of that is encased in a name and the relationship we inhabit with them.  

It is why we keep saying their name as often as we can, especially soon after they die. It is why we put their name on a tablet located on the ground or a wall. This person, this one, was here, is here. With everything packed into that specific name of that specific person, this individual stands out.