After reading a post on Bonnie’s blog I asked her to submit a complete version about how she and her husband named their last three children. I love the meaning that each name was given. Thank you Bonnie for sharing your heartfelt story. –Robyn
How We Came to Name Them Joshua, Charles, and Talita
by Bonnie Hansen
The three children born to us since the passing of our son, Tyler, all have names that point toward the Savior, Jesus Christ. We feel their names were inspired by Him to remind us of His great atonement and resurrection and the faith needed to believe in those realities and the great Plan of Happiness that plan being that we will be able to live forever as a family, that Tyler is not lost to us, but rather has just moved on ahead of us for a while.
About a couple of months after Tyler passed away, my husband, Scott, had a dream where we were both laying in bed asleep. He awoke to see a little girl, with curly blond hair standing by our bedside. She looked over me to him and said excitedly, I can’t wait! Then the dream ended.
A few weeks later we were at my mom’s house and Scott was listening to a cd by Daniel Rona about places in the Holy Land and the events that occurred there. He spoke about the daughter of Jairus being raised from the dead by the Savior as it is written in the book of Mark, chapter five. He explained that when the Savior said to the young girl, “Talitha, cumi,” he was not just saying, “Maiden, arise.” The word Talitha in Hebrew means female lamb. It was often used as a nickname for little girls with curly blond hair. Daniel Rona believes that the daughter of Jairus was no stranger to the Savior since he spent over a year living in the area where she lived. He believes, rather, that the Savior called her Talitha as an endearing nickname to someone he knew well. As Scott was listening to this story, his eyes filled with tears and he knew the name of the little girl with curly blond hair who was to come to our family.
About 5 or 6 months later we learned we were pregnant. We thought this was our little girl, but an ultrasound revealed it was a boy. Scott said with a groan, We have to do this again! However, I had a boy name already picked out. It came to me when I was watching a BYU devotional by Elder David B. Haight. He quoted the scripture that says, “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). The mention of Joshua immediately reminded me of an article in the Ensign I had read the month before. The article had been very timely and felt like it was written just for me. At the time we were dealing with allegations brought by the DCFS in regards to Tyler’s death and struggling with all the fear and emotional challenges that brought.
The Ensign article was called The Twelve Spies and was about Joshua and Caleb and how they were faithful in doing what the Lord asked despite overwhelming odds against them. The article begins with these words:
“Among all the philosophies one could choose to follow in life, the choice between two basic but opposing approaches faith versus fear influences our lives more markedly than any other.”
At that time in my life I was having to choose every moment which emotion I would live by: faith or fear. I was so impressed with Joshua’s faith and knew Heavenly Father wanted me to exercise faith like he had. I knew right then that if the Lord blessed us with another boy I would name him Joshua.
Through some miraculous tender mercies we were blessed to find the absolute right people to help us deal with the DCFS and the charges were dropped 9 months after Tyler’s death. Amazingly enough I conceived the night after the whole DCFS nightmare ended. It was as if Heavenly Father was just waiting for the stress of that period to end before sending us the next precious spirit to enter our family.
I had a wonderful pregnancy, healthy and joyous. I also went on an amazing journey of discovering natural childbirth and homebirth. I felt like the Lord was guiding me every step of the way. Joshua’s birth was absolutely the best of all my children’s births. The memory of his birth carried me through moments of postpartum sadness and breastfeeding difficulties. I was then, and still am, filled with gratitude to the Lord for helping me have such an empowering, sacred birth experience. Now, at the age of 8, Joshua has taught me much about faith and unconditional love as he has struggled with some Aspergers tendencies. He is sweet, innocent, and loving, and I have no doubt that he was sent here for me to learn much from.
Nineteen months after Joshua was born we learned we were expecting again. We thought, surely this is our little girl, then we can be done having kids! An ultrasound at 20 weeks revealed another boy. Okay, I thought, were we wrong? Was the dream just a wish? I knew I should be grateful for any baby boy or girl, but I couldn’t help grieving for the little girl I had thought we would never have. After all I was 40 years old at the time and 6 kids was a lot! The Lord blessed me, however, to know we were not done having kids. A couple weeks after the ultrasound I dozed off while reading my scriptures. As I started waking up I realized I had been dreaming. In the dream I was arguing with someone. The person was saying, “seven kids.” And I was saying, “no, six.” They kept saying, “No, seven.” I wondered who I had been talking to. I picked up in the scriptures where I had fallen asleep and read, “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand” (Jacob 4:10). I felt in my heart that it was not a coincidence. I had to take a walk to think it through and to talk to Heavenly Father about it. By the time I came home, I felt like I really could do it again if the Lord helped me to be healthy and in shape so the pregnancy would not be too difficult and that it could be joyful even like Joshua’s had been.
Still, I struggled with this pregnancy. I was overweight and uncomfortable. In my less faithful moments I struggled with feelings of doubt that I would ever have the promised little girl. I didn’t feel like I knew the baby I was carrying. I had no boy name picked out, neither did Scott. One morning as Scott sat at the kitchen table reading his scriptures he was thinking about the baby inside me and asked out of the blue, “Baby, what is your name?” Immediately he heard in his mind “Charles.” He said, “Are you sure?!?!” He knew that it was the name the baby wanted. He told me about the experience but didn’t tell me the name. He wanted me to receive the name by inspiration as well because he knew I wouldn’t like the name and would have to know it was divinely inspired to accept it. All he told me was that it was a good English name. It was actually my sister-in-law who guessed the name first. Scott was right, I didn’t like it at first, but as I thought about it, the name just seemed to stick to him. It wasn’t until we were watching a performance of Handel’s Messiah three weeks before his birth that I knew for sure his name was Charles and that it was okay. The director of the performance was a counselor in our Stake Presidency and had the middle name of Charles. I felt something stirring in my heart as I thought of his love for inspired music and his love for the Savior. In those brief spirit-filled moments the name Charles came to symbolize the joyful praising, through beautifully inspired music, of our Savior, His birth and His resurrection.
The day after Charles’ birth, (another incredible homebirth) while talking to a really good friend about the birth and his name, she said, “You have to read about Charles Wesley.” I was amazed she thought of him because I had noticed one Sunday during the pregnancy that my favorite Easter Hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” and my favorite Christmas Hymn “Hark the Herald Angels” were written by Charles Wesley. Was it a coincidence that this baby was conceived at Easter time and born at Christmas time? After talking to my friend I asked my daughter, Ali, to look up some information on Charles Wesley on the internet. I was struck with the knowledge that Charles Wesley was born on my birthday, March 29th, (which also happened to be 2 days after Easter that year) and that he died on December 18th. December 18 was Charles’ due date. Coincidence? Who knows? But I have to think that it all ties together somehow. To me it all points back to the Savior, His life and His mission.
Even though I hadn’t felt like I knew Charles while I was carrying him, I fell absolutely head over heels in love with him when he was born. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Heavenly Father had sent us another incredible spirit. He smiled easily and often. In fact, his birth video shows pictures of him on Christmas day, when he was five days old, smiling joyfully from ear to ear. Earlier that same day we were listening to a music cd our daughter had received as a gift. The music was beautiful. Charles’ eyes grew wide and his wriggling little body suddenly became still. He was enraptured. Now at 6 years old, Charles takes great pride in his name and loves the fact that he is a “Christmas baby.”
The Lord generously blessed me with my desires to be healthy and to get in shape for the next and (what I thought was the last) pregnancy. On Dec. 31, 2007, two years after Charles was born, we learned we were expecting again. It had taken 6 months more than we thought it would to get pregnant. Never had both my husband and I wanted to get pregnant more than this time. I doubted at times it would really happen considering my age, but the Lord comforted and reassured me that it would. We kept it as our delightful little secret for a couple of weeks from our kids and a bit longer from everyone else. The pregnancy was joyful, even though tiring at times. I decided not to have an ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby. I felt like Heavenly Father wanted me to trust him. I tried to be faithful but doubted at times if I really was carrying the little girl we had dreamed of. In my more faithful moments the Lord was able to help me understand more of why she was to be named Talita. In a journal entry dated June 25th when I was 6 months pregnant I wrote to my future baby:
I believe you want to be named Talita to remind me and your dad and everyone you meet in mortality to have faith and hope in Christ, His atonement and resurrection. Joseph Brickey’s painting of the daughter of Jarius depicts it well. Though we all have moments of grief and sorrow the Savior stands at the door. When we are ready, the door is opened, the light comes pouring in and life is restored, joy and reunion take place, and our mortal moment of suffering is ended. Because of our Lord and Savior, we can have joy forever. This is what you want me to focus on, not the aching loss, but the hope of eternal life and the joyous reunion with loved ones, all made possible because of our beloved Savior. From now on, when I say or think your name I will focus on the Savior standing in a light-filled doorway, just waiting to bring life and joy to my life and our family’s life.
On another day I wrote:
Talita means hope, it means joy, it means Jesus wants to answer our prayers, bring back that which was lost or taken away. He wants to dry our tears, fill us with joy, happiness, and peace. We just have to trust Him that those things will happen at the right time for us. The daughter of Jairus wasn’t healed immediately when he asked. Jairus had to wait for the right moment‑‑when he and his wife had suffered just enough, when the doubters and naysayers were gone and they could be alone with the Savior. We will have to wait for the millennium for Tyler’s spirit to re‑enter his body, to be reunited with him, to be able to embrace him and rejoice together. But it will be the right time then. It will be the right time.
Talita’s labor and birth unfolded much differently than I had expected but was nonetheless amazing and spiritual. The day she chose to come earthside was September 11, 2008. I don’t believe the day was coincidental either. As I have reflected on it over the past 3 years I believe that she chose that day as another reminder to us to focus not on the sorrow and grief of death, but rather to focus on the One who claimed victory over death, to find peace, joy, and healing in His incredible gifts of life to us.
Although my labor with Talita was long—over 30 hours—it was exactly as it needed to be. Her cord was extremely short and the labor and birth needed to be slow and gentle for a safe birth. She was born at home into the loving hands of my caring, experienced midwives. My husband was behind me holding me and supporting me. When my midwife turned her over on my lap both my husband and I exclaimed with joy “It’s a girl!” Over the next few hours as we said her name, she would turn her head to the sound. It was as if she knew and recognized her name.
Her hair was dark and more plentiful than any of my other babies. I wondered if she really would have curly blond hair like in my husband’s dream. It didn’t take long before her hair lightened, and as it got longer beautiful little curls began to take shape. Now at the age of 3 her hair is honey blonde and has beautiful waves and gentle curls to it. She is the only one of our 7 kids to have curly hair and I am loving it. As fun as that is, however, it is her sweet, feminine, loving spirit that is an absolute joy to have in our home. At the end of her birth video I put these words:
God’s little lamb,
sent to remind us
that miracles happen.
Mark 5:35-43 (KJV)
Lovingly dedicated to her brother,
Tyler Boyd Hansen
August 20, 1992 – February 16, 2002.
My heart is filled with gratitude and love to my Father in Heaven and my Savior for Their tender, watchful care over me and my family. Truly, we have been greatly blessed, and I look forward with great anticipation to the day when our family will be fully reunited. While it has been a sweet, tender mercy to feel my son’s presence at the births of his siblings and at many other sacred moments, my heart longs to see him and embrace him again. Through our Savior’s sacrifice, I know that one glorious day all of us will get to embrace him and thank him for all he has done for us, not only during his short mortal life, but, with the help of our Savior, all that he has done for us since.