Your Name Is A Golden Bell; Thoughts Shared By Readers

I am deeply gratified by your response to A Swift Current, both by comments posted here and those shared with me privately.  Your thoughts have encouraged, inspired and challenged me, and I thank you.

I would like to share two responses to the last post, I Call Your Name.

The first is from a friend who lost her husband four years ago. She mentions him in our conversations without hesitation or pause. But she recently confided that some friends appear uncomfortable when when she says his name.

And so she edits herself, to put others at ease.

Perhaps her husband lovingly anticipated her dilemma. Before he died, he asked her to send the quotation below to their many friends. Written in 1910, it is an excerpt from a sermon by the Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Henry Scott Holland:

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.

 Put no difference into your tone.

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household word it always was.

Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow on it.

My friend’s husband concluded his final message with these words:

And now I bid you a most heartfelt farewell.

And my sister reminded me of a serigraph by the artist Corita Kent, G O greatest show of worth.  This memory is particularly poignant. Shortly after our Father died, our Mother started work at Corita’s gallery in North Hollywood. For the next twenty years, she spent her days surrounded by Corita’s jubilant art (www.corita.org).

Part of the 1968 series Damn Everything But the Circus, Corita’s print incorporates a quote from The Last Unicorn by P. G. Beagle:

A Swift Current || Reflections on Elderly Parents || Your Name Is A Golden Bell

Corita, serigraph, 1968
Used with permission from the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles

It isn’t surprising that the remarkable Corita could communicate this idea in one profound and exuberant image. These words will be my Thanksgiving prayer:

Your name is a golden bell hung in my heart.

I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name.”

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4 thoughts on “Your Name Is A Golden Bell; Thoughts Shared By Readers

  1. Oh, Hallie. What beautiful quotes. i think they will both become an extremely important part of my personal notes. They are to be treasured. Thank you for bringing them to me.

  2. Your writing and sharing is so beautiful and will be enjoyed by all. I love the sharing of other ways of coping. I also feel uncomfortable when someone asks me “How many children do you have?” Do I say one living child or two–both are correct–but in some ways I do not want to leave out my deceased child. But I do not always want to give details when asked “What happened to your daughter–how old was she when she died? Keep writing. I think of you often.

  3. One word to describe your writing… Uplifting! Lost two of my brothers, one in 2010 and the other in 2011. Quite devastating… I think of them often, and receiving these post will be another moment for me to reflect and remember not just them, but my parents as well! Thank you for your inspiring words, and keep writing.

    • Thank you, Karen, for your generous words. I hope these posts serve as a source of comfort; a way for people to know they are not alone. That is the impetus for many of my ideas for this blog; when I was at the deepest point of my grief, I felt very alone. Today’s post, The Gift, addresses one of the aspects of my grief that I never anticipated. I caught me quite off-guard and then much later I learned it wasn’t unusual. But people don’t talk about these things…
      Thank you again, Hallie

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