Four years ago, before we discovered that the baby I was carrying was a boy, Chris and I dreamed of names for our child. We've never fought over names; never have had trouble picking them out. If a boy, this child would be Noah, named for Chris's beloved, gentle, pacifist grandfather. If a girl, this child would be Hazel Irene, named simply because we loved the first name and because the second name means "peace." I was in love with the name we gave Miriam, as well. She is named for my grandmother and for Anne of Green Gables. I remember being out in public, ridiculously in love with my baby and saying her name to her. I kept thinking, “People will hear me call her Miriam Blythe and say, ‘What a lovely name! What a perfect name!’”--because I thought it was lovely and perfect.
After we found out that our baby was a boy, I let go of the name Hazel for a time...but I dreamed of using it. Our friend, Jena, really felt as if there was a Hazel in our future. I wanted that to be true!! When we discovered this pregnancy, I rekindled my dream of the name; but I wanted a little girl so very badly that I could hardly let myself consider that I might get one. Of course it was more than just because of her name: I wanted Miriam to have a little sister.
Tonight Methodist Hospital had a memorial service for the babies who had died during the past year. It was simple and nice. As Chris said, afterwards, “I’m not really into that religious stuff.” But we have so few things we get to do for Hazel. And, honestly, I just need to be able to use her name sometimes.
I sat in my seat and just whispered her name, “Hazel, Hazel, Hazel.” We lit candles at the end of the service and they said we could speak aloud the name of our child. When it was my turn, and no one else had spoken aloud, I just could not do it. I was too embarrassed, too afraid that I would cry. As soon as the moment passed I regretted it. I keep saying how much I’m mourning even the very name we gave her and here I had a rare chance to speak the name aloud and I passed it up! When we stood to go forward and collect our little Hazel’s shell (a memento from the hospital), I said, aloud, regardless of the possible embarrassment, “We lit our candles in the memory of Hazel. I love her name and just needed to say it out loud.”