Several years ago, one of our forum members, Brkn Mom, began to post “Name Hearts” on the Alliance of Hope forum. She used software that randomly displayed our loved one’s names – in different places and different sizes within a heart. I always looked forward to seeing my husband Jim’s name inside the heart whenever she posted one.
When she stopped doing them, I asked her if she would mind if I took them over because they meant so much to me and to so many other members. And so now I post a new name heart for our community every day.
The hearts are important to me – and to a lot of forum members. Seeing our loved one’s names matters. Why does it matter? I believe it is another way of remembering them.
Remembering has always been important to me. Remembering is why I still hang the Christmas ornaments from my pets that passed 30 years ago. Those ornaments bring me back to the days when they were with me. They reconnect my heart to my memories. So many memories are tucked away in our brains. I love it when an object or song brings us back to a happier time. I will often just sit for a moment with a special memory and savor it.
Ornaments, mementos, songs, special recipes, traditions, and seeing their names are as valuable as having photos. All those things bring back memories. Sometimes memories bring smiles – sometimes they bring tears, but those memories are ours and we wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
I believe that seeing our loved one’s name every day is a way to say to the world that they were here, and they are loved and missed. It is a way of acknowledging that they are in our thoughts, hearts, and lives – and that they still matter. My husband lives in my heart and thoughts every day, but speaking about him, seeing his name, knowing that he isn’t forgotten is as important to me 5 years after his death as it was in the early days.
The hearts are random. I hit refresh and every name shows up in a different way. Sometimes a name pops up large as if to say “Hi. I’m still with you!” Often when I post the daily name heart, someone will see their loved one’s name front and center and reply that they were having a difficult day and it is almost like they are being sent a sign. Sometimes a member will write that their loved one showed up large on an important day, birthday, or anniversary. Coincidence or sign, it is special.
Members also say the hearts are healing. PurpleKingsMumma wrote: “Doing this for all of us is like a stitch on the gaping hole that is our broken heart.”
I recently saw this poem that hits home: “We are the rememberers. The people left behind to keep the one who is gone from us alive in heart and mind. The people left to cherish and preserve a legacy. Yes, we are the rememberers … and we will always be.” In a small way, the name hearts help to cherish and preserve that legacy.