Please, don’t forget about my child. This is my heartfelt plea. I know you love and care about my family. I know that you don’t always understand nor do I expect you to. I know that you wouldn’t want to cause more pain to our already aching hearts. So, you mention my child less for fear of stirring up the dust that has seemingly settled. The truth is, the idea that my child will one day be forgotten is one of my greatest fears.
The less you talk about him the more that fear feels like a reality. I don’t expect him to be the topic of every conversation. I don’t expect you to mention him every time I see you. Perhaps at one time or another, I wanted that. But time has taken me further and further away from the early days of deep, suffocating grief. Even though I am always reluctant to admit it, I know the world has carried on. But what I need and what I want now is just to know that he has not been forgotten.
Maybe that means the occasional, “I thought about him the other day…” but mostly it means I need you to remember the important day he was born and the day he died. You see my friend, I don’t expect you to fix any of this. And really all I need is to know that his name can be mentioned without fear, without guilt, and without uncertainty. I need to know that he is remembered because, at the very least, he deserves that. He does not deserve to be swept under a rug because you fear my tearful response. Or because you think that my grief has subsided. Or because you have moved on. Or because you have trouble talking about him.
He deserves better than to be forgotten or remain unmentioned. After all, he is still my child.
My child is a huge part of who I am now. You know this. His name and his face replay in my mind every single day. Even the days I smile or the days when joy washes over me. He is still at the heart of who I am now. And I need you to know that it’s okay. It is okay to speak his name whether it is a good day, bad day, or a sad day. It’s okay and it’s what I need from time to time.
I need to be reassured that his life holds within it so much value, still. I need to know that his story is not over and his story has not been forgotten, even though he has been gone for some time now. I need to know that I do not remember him alone. And all it takes to remind me of these things is to say his precious name. I don’t need gifts, I don’t need flowers or cards. I just need you to say his name aloud, unapologetically, and unprovoked.
I need you to remember the significance of important days like his birthday. Because while they are normal average days to you, they are days that we remember, that we mourn. They are days that bring up extremely complicated feelings. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed. These days are significant to my family. And they always will be.
So please, please don’t forget about my child. The greatest gift you can give to my family is the gift of remembrance. It costs you nothing. It requires very little. Yet it is more precious than gold. Hearing my child’s name is the greatest reminder that he has not been forgotten.
And there is nothing that I want more.
This post originally appeared on Still Standing Magazine.