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.”