Weeks ago, my husband came home with a few letters from his mailbox at work. I flipped through each one, mostly about doctor things, but came to the last one with a knot in my stomach: an advertisement for a Walk to Remember in honor of babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death - scheduled for next month.
I used to hear about walks, memorials like these, but now I'm finding myself a part of them.
I quietly began to type out an email to register for the walk, but couldn't move past the first question: baby's full name.
We had never given the baby a name. I never knew them, how could I name them? But we are this child's parents, and that is what we do. These things help grief, they tell me.
I searched for something Catholic and gender neutral became we lost our baby so early on, and after a while I came to like Frances. Baby Frances. Said outloud, it's gender neutral. It works, right? I am insecure about it all. I don't know what I'm doing here.
I took a few days to get used to the name and then tried to think about middle names. Frances Michael? Frances… ? Frances what?
I thought of Francis Xavier, a saint I knew almost nothing about. But this name was meant to help me feel connected to my baby.
So I began reading about him, and tears filled my eyes. “The first of Ignatius's companions”, they wrote, a beloved student and friend of Ignatius of Loyola.
The son in my arms, Augustine Ignatius, was born 10 months after my miscarriage.
And then I read of Frances Xavier of Cabrini, a saint born prematurely who became headmistress of an orphanage.
And so I type,
Frances Xavier Facista.
Sibling of Lily Elanor and Augustine Ignatius.
These names were given to me, by our Lord who mourns our loss with us. These names fit so perfectly together, it makes my heart burst and ache at the same time. These saints will care for our child in heaven, and I pray that one day I will meet him or her.
We are stitched together with the communion of saints and these names for my children were such a powerful reminder today.
If you or someone you know has lost a child to miscarriage, still birth, or in infancy, please leave a comment (if you feel comfortable doing so) so I can pray for you and your sweet family. No one should have to walk through this grief alone - we are in this together, mama.