Welcome to Mommies with Hope

Come and find solace as you get to know us who share in this journey of grief. We have been praying for you and extend our deepest and sincere sympathy. We “hope” you experience comfort and peace in this safe haven of love and support.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More Than a Name

First Name: Riyah [Ri- úh]; meaning "Singer"
Middle Name: Mae [May]; as in the month of May, also means "bitter"

We named her Riyah Mae. We found the news out from the much anticipated chromosomal tests just over a week ago. We chose to do the tests mainly because we wanted to know if our sweet baby was a boy or a girl. The tests all came back "normal" which basically just means that she did not have a chromosomal abnormality. I suspected this would be the case. And to be honest, I'm completely fine with not knowing "why" because I truly believe that there is a much bigger reason to the "why" question than any doctor can give me answers for. In fact, I recall telling my perinatalogist something along the lines of "some things I don't think we are intended to know the answers to" when discussing possible causes and explanations as to why this may have occurred. He nodded in agreement with a look on his face that just conveyed to me that he knew exactly what I was talking about. What a comfort that simple nod was to me in those moments immediately following that dreaded ultrasound.

But back to her name. Riyah Mae. Riyah meaning "Singer." Mae meaning "month of May" or "bitter" (as a variation of the name Mary). For many, these meanings may not seem too significant. To us, however, her name not only sounds beautiful, but the meaning behind it touches our hearts. Let me explain...

Riyah was a name that we had found when we were searching for boy and girl names prior to finding out that our sweet girl's tiny heart had stopped beating. We liked Riyah for a girl, though I have to admit that I probably liked it more than Justin. Our oldest son, Gabe, really liked the name Ryan for a boy, so when we found out it was a girl, he was absolutely sold on Riyah. The name Mae is significant to us for two special reasons. First, she was due in May. May 9th, in fact. Oh we laughed about that due date...2 days after I will graduate with my PhD and 2 days before Chloe's birthday. May 9th...Mother's Day. Also, Riyah's Great Grandma Drake was named Maedene. I never got to know her, but Justin loved her so and I hear she was a lovely woman.

Riyah Mae. Precious. And now on the the literal meaning of her name. The words "singer," "May," and "bitter" don't seem too touching on the surface, do they? Oh but they say so much. First, let's discuss "singer." For those of you who know me well, you know I love to sing! If I could have any one job in the world, I would be a singer hands down. I sing all the time. In the car. In the shower. In my kitchen. You name it. It actually gets pretty annoying to people. But I love to sing. My oldest child sings everything too. He may not admit to loving singing like I so readily will, but I do believe he's a budding singer himself. I just imagine my children all loving to sing, just like their mamma. I have this book, "Mommy Please Don't Cry...There Are No Tears in Heaven" and it's a beautifully illustrated book written to comfort grieving mothers whose precious babies have gone to be with their Jesus. There is one page that brings tears to my eyes every time and the words state,

"Mommy. Please don't cry...The angels are always singing. I love to sing with the angels! You'd be proud of me. I have a pretty good voice. I must have gotten it from you." I can't imagine what my babies sound like singing with the angels in heaven!

Next, as you already know, the month of May is so special to me for many reasons. Chloe, our first child who went to be with the Lord, was born in May. May 11th, 2006. Mother's Day, a bittersweet holiday for us all (bitterness to be addressed next!), is in the sweet month of May. I was due with Riyah on Mother's Day!

And finally, "bitter." What is so good about this word? Not much, really. I do not want to let these losses embitter my soul one bit. Maybe it's a reminder to me to trust in the Lord and lean on Him, as opposed to question His sovereign plan and will. Still, there is always that temptation to allow the hurt and the pain to rule, giving root to bitterness in my heart. Yet, we have a choice. We can allow that bitterness to swallow us whole, or...we can choose joy. I choose joy.

Psalm 42:8 has been of great comfort to me, even since Chloe's death, and brings me so much comfort now. When contemplating the meanings of her name and the experience of losing Riyah, I can't help but rest in this verse, which states...

"By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me - A prayer to the God of my life."
(Psalm 42:8)

So my song will not be filled with bitterness, but of God's love. His song is the lifesong I want to sing. He is the God of my life and I surrender it all to Him. Won't you join me?

Anyway, this may seem like a lengthy post that merely talks about the name of a child. My hope is that it conveys much more to you. More than a name. More than the meaning of words. And even more than the significance of the name to us, her parents. This name represents so much more. It represents a life. A precious baby girl. Tiny. Yet "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139) in the likeness of her Creator. Hopes and dreams for a future. A sister. A daughter. Riyah Mae meant something to someone...to us, to her big brother Gabe. And even to her 17 month old-sister who doesn't even "know" her like we do, but one day she will because Riyah is a part of our family. Oh, it's so much more than a name. It's about a life.

For those of you who have lost children, it's hard when others don't really understand. You hear those comments like, "at least you can get pregnant" or "at least you weren't that far along." Regardless of any of that, your child was a person. Your son. Your daughter. You may not have the privilege of knowing which on this side of heaven, but you know you loved that child. Rightfully so. If you have experienced a loss and are comfortable, I would encourage you to comment in response to this post and share the name of your child(ren). If you have not named your child, maybe this will be an encouragement to choose a name if you feel so led, or maybe you will share "baby" or some other words about your child. This challenge is not reserved for those of you who have chosen a name, but rather an opportunity to honor your child and his/her precious life. Validating their existence in this world as a person who meant something and who had a purpose. So share about your child and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone and others have "been there." And even we who have been there will fail, but God...oh He never will!

No comments: