What’s In a Name?

DSCF8921It’s crazy how one four-letter word can stop me in my tracks. If I hear one word, one name to be specific, my heart skips a beat and I have to catch my breath.


The Italian name of my angel baby. My third son who I delivered stillborn at 37 weeks.

It’s been three and a half years since I buried my little Luca in a tiny grave beneath a dark granite marker with that name etched in stone.

But no matter how long it has been, when I hear his name a river of emotions rushes through my mind and I pause.

If a friend or family member says it I usually smile – happy that they dare speak his name. So many people skirt around the topic of my dead baby. I think they worry that if they talk about him it will remind me of my loss.

They don’t realize I think of him all the time.

My little Luca.

My husband wanted to give each of our sons an Italian name. He started working on me the moment we found out I was pregnant with our first, trying to get me to warm up to names like Vincenzo and Lorenzo. I don’t write the names of my living children on my blog, but you can easily guess that none of them have a nickname of “Enzo.”

I love Italy and the Italian language but not its male names.

By the time we were on baby boy number three I had really warmed up to Luca – the Italian form of Luke. It was unique, yet normal. Easy to spell and easy for Americans to pronounce.

Because it’s such a different name, I don’t hear it and I’ve never, ever seen it in print- until this month.

I’ve seen it twice in the most random places and both times it made me smile.

I ran across the name of Luca while reading the book “Wonder” by RJ Palacio. One of the main character’s schoolmates is named Luca. I think the book only mentions him twice and probably only dedicates one sentence to him but it made my day.

Then last week my family found Luca’s name on a paper plate. One of the Zoo Pal character plates is named Luca.

And although Luca is a crazy looking brown monkey, we were all so excited to see him.

My five-year-old ate his dinner from a Luca plate and I couldn’t help but wonder what Luca would have done if he saw his name on a plate. Probably what any 3-year-old would have done – fought his older brother for it.

Although it’s sometimes painful to think of my baby boy, it’s also exciting to see his name around.


I don’t think it will happen often, but each time it does it will be a subtle, happy reminder of my angel baby.

I just might have to buy each safari pack of Zoo Pals I come across so I can hang on to one more treasure that reminds me of him.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 16:00:14

    It’s also the name of the person who won Master Chef last night. 🙂


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