October 2, 2013
I am the mother of five boys. My husband and I have joked that the reason God hasn’t given us a girl yet is that we can’t agree on a girl name. In five pregnancies, we haven’t decided on a girl name once, but the boys’ names have come relatively easily. Even when naming our two who came more than four months too soon.
Our fourth son was born still on December 4, 2010— the feast day of St. John of Demascus. With that in mind, and in honor of both my husband’s and my godfathers, we named him John. His middle name, “Blaise,” is in honor of another saint, patron of throats and of the parish where I grew up. We didn’t know John Blaise was a boy until he was born, and we didn’t have a name picked out ahead of time. But we didn’t have any trouble agreeing.
On September 3, 2013, our fifth little boy was born. He too was born still. We didn’t know his gender either before he was born, and we hadn’t decided on any names yet, but when my husband suggested Alexander, it fit. The middle name, Gregory, honors St.Gregory the Great, on whose feast day Alexander was born. Nearly three weeks later we held a memorial for Alexander Gregory and buried him beside his brother. It wasn’t until the day before the memorial that we realized it was to be held on the feast of St. Alexander of the via Claudia, on September 21. I can’t discount that as pure coincidence.
Recently someone raised the question, “what does it matter which saint…? A saint is a saint.” But names, their meanings, their namesakes, symbolism, spelling, sound, and even their appearances have always been things I weigh. So while all saints might be good namesakes, it has been important to me to learn about the particular Sts. John, Alexander, & Gregory with whom our boys share special days and names. I guess maybe it helps to fill the void of not knowing the boys and men my babies might have grown into.
My grief is named
John Blaise & Alexander Gregory
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