Lots of us have big moments in our lives that change things for us. Like before you got married and after you got married. Or before I got the job and after I got the job.

For me the most defining moment of my life will probably always be this. It will be before Denny died and after Denny died.

That doesn’t mean that this defining moment defines me. But it does mean that this is when my life completely changed. It’s almost as though it’s two separate lives. It’s not. But it feels a lot like that. My life before Denny died was so different than it is now. And that one decision that he made now changed everything in my life and completely uprooted all that was me. And none of it by my own choice.

Unless they were a very good friend of Denny’s before hand, most people don’t say his name around me. They are afraid it will trigger something in me or that it will upset me somehow. People walk on eggshells around me and won’t say things like, “When Denny Died…,” because they are worried I’ll be sensitive to it. Instead they say something while trying to avoid definitive words like, “How have you been since… lately?”

My whole reasoning behind all of this is to get people talking about things. To stop being uncomfortable about the hard topics. Because that’s the first step, right? If we can talk about mental illness and suicide and other things that are typically seen as taboo, then we can find solutions. But if we keep pretending it’s not really happening or we can’t have a real conversation about it, people will keep taking their lives. And the suicide rate just grows and grows, right? We have to open this conversation. And I have an easy way for you to start.

Please say his name.

Say “Denny,” When you talk to me.

Ask about, “Denny.”

Ask me about how we are doing, “since Denny died.”

Ask me questions about my life with, “Denny.”

When I hear his name come out of someone else’s mouth it’s comforting. I loved him, always will love him, and want to talk about him. I want to hear people say, “Denny.”

I’ve heard a lot of people say this who have lost someone. They want to hear their name. They want to know that other people recognize and remember this person. That this person didn’t just disappear from our lives and is still an important influence.

So please. For me, for my girls, and for anyone else out their grieving a loved one. Say his name. Say “Denny.”

11 thoughts on “Say His Name

  1. My son died at the age of 15 (he was severely disabled) over 12 years ago. We talk about him as if he’s still with us as he is so much part of this family. I love saying his name … keeping his name alive.
    I struggled with the first Christmas (he died at the end of October) because we had so many Christmas cards where people had failed to write his name as if he never existed. I destroyed those cards!

  2. Dani, I am following your story of Denny and your two beautiful little angel girls. From what I have read, I think Denny was a wonderful man, and you looked so happy together. I can relate to Denny in various ways, and I feel I also understand him. Sounds strange when I did not know him, but that is because of your writting. You are writting from your heart with raw emotion and honesty. You are a brave lady, stronger than what you most probably believe, you will get through this. Mental heath can be invisible and so very very fragile.

  3. My heart breaks for you and your family your in my prayers . It’s always hard to know what to do in these circumstances I recently approached someone who had lost their brother after hearing not to avoid it and they said they didn’t want to talk about I felt terrible so it’s hard to know what’s best xx

  4. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through! I have been following your blog and I am praying for you and your girls! Looking at your posts and pictures, it is apparent the love that Denny had for you and you for him! (And the girls, too!). Spreading awareness about mental illness is not easy, but important and my hat is off to you for doing it!!!

  5. My son died, almost 11 yrs ago, he was 20. When people talk about him, it brings me such joy. Hearing their memories, good and bad, let me know that they still think of him too.

  6. I lost my Jake to suicide 2 years ago and people still walk on eggshells and don’t talk about him around me and the kids. It’s harder for me when they don’t talk about him then it is when they do. Thanks for this post. I can relate.

  7. I love your transparency and understanding . I love that your being clear with how you’d like ppl to bring Denny up regardless of the notion behind it , maybe being you’ll get sad or depressed !! I’m proud of you and how you’ve embraced what happen and your not afraid to feel all the emotions that come with being a widow !!

  8. I can only imagine what you are going through and I’m sending you and your family all the love and hugs in the world 💕
    This post made me think about my loss, and also understand exactly what you mean!

    In 2004, I lost my first baby full term, at 41 weeks! He was called Harlan, and, like you say…..people struggled to say his name, or talk about him, or tried to steer me away from thinking about him, as their way of looking after me I suppose?! BUT- I WANTED to talk about him, I wanted to make people realise, he DID exist, and will always be my son! I have FOUR children, not 3😊

    So yes, I totally agree, say Denny, say Harlan, say the names of all of those who are no longer with us, as it helps with the healings 💕

    Lots of love xx

  9. We lost our son (David)to suicide March 28, 2016. He was 39. His Depression and anxiety were no longer manageable. My survival through this has been by writing in a journal and reflecting on my scriptures. My heart is broken and one doesn’t ‘get through’ this. But somehow you move forward. I’m so so sorry for you and your little ones! So proud of you to blog about this and help others. I was very touched by the KSL story tonight. God be with you!

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