This is a question I wanted to pose to E-Hell readers. It’s happened twice in my circle, in differing time periods. I’ve been told by each side that their side was right in what they did, and the other side was wrong. I was appealed to for sympathy from both sides, but I bean dipped each time. As it happened, although I knew all the parties involved in both cases, they didn’t know each other, so no one could “learn a lesson” from the first instance. What do the E-hellions think, please?
The basic story in both cases is, a young man dies. He’s a well-loved only son in both cases. It’s tragic, and friends and family are torn with grief.
About a year or so after each of these deaths, a close, lifelong friend of the deceased and his family becomes a new father. By coincidence, in both cases, the deceased had a sister who is pregnant with her first child when her deceased brother’s friend and his wife becomes new parents. Each time, the friend of the deceased has a boy and gives the baby the name of the deceased. In both cases, the pregnant sisters of the deceased are hurt and angry and they basically stop talking to said friend, because the sisters in both cases had planned to name their soon to be born babies after their late brothers. In each case, then, the friend and his wife become hurt and angry, because they felt they had the right to use the name of a lifelong dear friend who had died suddenly. A break occurs between the families and the friends, and is never healed.
It was extremely uncomfortable, the tension over this, the first time this happened to people I knew. When it occurred again to others, a few years later, I couldn’t believe it had happened again, just the same.
Is it wrong to appropriate a name of someone who died when the deceased’s family might want it and have an occasion to use it soon? Should they have asked before using it? Or is it wrong to expect a lifelong friend to forego naming his child a name he truly wanted because the family planned to use it? Does the family have the etiquette right to say no one can use it, and expect to be obeyed? 0408-15
What a ridiculous thing to fight about. It’s obvious that the last names of the infants are different than the sisters’ family names so no one is allowed to use the same first and middle names? For example, friend’s baby is named Robert Micheal Smith and sister’s baby is named Robert Micheal Jones…what is the problem here? One child can be called Robbie, the other Bob.
One would think the family whose son died would be honored that others valued their deceased son/brother so highly that they would want to remember him in a very personal manner which will last a lifetime. It’s a way to keep the memory alive, to honor a person whose name carries with it a significant degree of respect and love. It’s a way of communicating to the child that he is named after a role model his parents esteemed very much. What a lovely tribute.
Do the sisters have a right to be offended at the use of their brothers’ names by close friends? My thought on that is that if I were the parent who lost the son, I would be counseling my daughter that she does not have a right to the name of her brother, as if she owned it. I named my son and it was his name to do with as he wished. I “owned” it first, gave it to him and he did with it as he wished. If he lived his life in such a way that people respected, admired and loved him enough to name their children after him, that honor is a credit to his name, character and memory. The sisters cannot claim theft of a name that never belonged to them in the first place. It is dishonoring to the memory of the deceased to fight over his name as if anyone other than the deceased had a right to it.