Noah’s Name


I named my son Noah because I loved the images it evoked. Imagine all the animal species of the world peacefully rocking side by side, two by two, in an ark made by  faithful hands from gopher wood. I loved the idea of a fresh start, of the planet covered in my favorite element, having lived my whole life cradled by salt water. I loved the image of that ancient Noah on the bow of his ark, extending his open hand to catch the dual symbols of peace—a dove and the simple olive branch she clutched in her beak. I named my son Noah because, given the choice, why not name your son after God’s chosen one?

On the day Noah was born, the sun came out after raining for 40 days and 40 nights. His birthplace was Oregon, after all. He had reddish blonde hair and a peaceful countenance. Noah was the first of my children to gaze back into my loving eyes with a curiosity that reflected the color with which I, too, see the world—blue. He was delivered into the happy seven-year-old hands of his sister, Hannah, and the capable arms of Christiana, who was four. His brother Micah, at three, was completely enraptured by him, inquisitive about each sound or movement Noah made. Noah Patrick, we named him, with his Dad’s middle name. Noah Patrick Moore, we added, with my maiden name. Noah Patrick Moore Kittel, we concluded with the final name of my husband that we all share. “Noah Moore,” some joked, but it would not turn out to be so funny.

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Death stalked our happiness and Noah was not ours to love for very long. This is what I read at his funeral 15 months later. “Noah. He was ours for one long and lovely weekend of our lives. He began his journey into this world on a Friday night and arrived as an answer to our prayers on a Saturday morning in the wee hours as the world slept. We knew the wonder of him before the dawn while others only dreamt of such miracles. As Saturday progressed we knew him already and he was a part of us. We were fascinated by his hunger, we watched him lovingly as he slept, we giggled together, we fed him his first foods, we clapped as he crawled, we laughed when he danced, we tickled him, and we admired his ability to climb. By Saturday night he was permanently and forever coursing through our veins. He had eight teeth and an incredible smile. He clapped for himself proudly as he took his first steps. He screamed for what he wanted. He pointed at all he saw. He read books happily. He loved ice cream.

As Sunday dawned we dreamed of one another. We were a family of six. Noah was as much a part of our life as breathing. We played and already the memories were long and detailed. We started the day with his noises and we loved him all morning. We rejoiced at our blessings and admired his beauty. We gave thanks for the perfection of our little family and knew how to be content. We were happy and whole. By Sunday afternoon Noah had left us and the lovely weekend was over. There could never be another weekend so perfect again. Last to arrive but first to leave, we will forever follow his lead. We taught him all we knew and all we could. He now knows more than we can ever begin to comprehend. And we are only beginning to decipher the meaning of Noah and all he taught us. He gave gifts which can’t be bought and taught richly without words. We are forever grateful and will forever yearn for Sunday morning again.”

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Twelve years later, we’d added two more children to our family and were living in Costa Rica with four of them, having left Hannah behind. Dropping her off at college was supposed to be a difficult milestone for us, her parents, and I won’t deny that the umbilical cord tugged at my belly. But when you’ve dropped your son off in a funeral home or left him behind in a cemetery, any place on Earth is an easier place for farewells. I had begun writing the story of Noah and the subsequent loss nine months later of his brother, Jonah. Jonah means “Noah’s dove” and off he flew to be with Noah sometime during his stillbirth, leaving us standing on the shore once more with empty arms extended and his name on our breath—Jonah Emmanuel Moore Kittel. For three years by then, I’d been trying to capture the story of our sons who were with us such a short, yet powerful, time. Many days I’d look up from my computer screen and expect to see them toddling towards me. It was magical time spent with my sons while their siblings were at school. We bereaved parents learn to take what we can get.

In the spring, our friends came to visit us with their three sons, the eldest of whom—Adam—is autistic. Adam’s parents were Noah’s Godparents and even though Adam had not seen Noah for many years, he spent the whole week calling Micah and our youngest son, Isaiah, by his name—Noah. Hearing that word was the sweetest music to my ears and my sons didn’t mind being called Noah one bit. For me, a self-proclaimed word lover, naming my babies was one of the most pleasurable parts of pregnancy and, as I said, I pondered the possibilities and chose them carefully. Indeed, one of the many ways I miss my sons was just this—the silence where their names used to be. When our week with Adam drew to an end, I told Noah’s Godfather how much I had enjoyed hearing Noah’s name spoken so many times by Adam. He exhaled a sigh of relief, saying, “I thought it would be painful for you to hear!” And that was yet one more reminder to me of how misunderstood our bereavement can be.

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A few days later I was blessed to receive a digital story produced by a relative called, “The things that matter.” In the three minutes she was allotted to impart the most important things in her life, she chose to mention that Noah had taught her daughter how to climb stairs before he left his playmate behind. It was another incredible gift for me to hear Noah’s name spoken again in that story.

Even today, 16 and 17 years after they died, I miss my sons every minute of my life. I will go to my grave with their names on my lips. When nobody dares to speak our children’s names we wonder if they have been forgotten. I want to wake up every morning and shout my son’s names to the Universe. “Noah!” “Jonah!”

For bereaved parents these are, indeed, the things that matter.

About the writer

Kelly Kittel has had thirteen pregnancies and given birth to seven children, five of whom are living today. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their two youngest children but her favorite place to write is in their yurts on the coast of Oregon. Kelly has spent most of her working life as a fish biologist who writes but has been undergoing metamorphosis to a writer who was formerly a fish biologist. She has been published in several magazines and anthologies including Three Minus One, Stories of Parents' Love and Loss. Her first book, Breathe, was published on May 14, 2014, which is the date that Jonah was stillborn. Find her at


Leslie Bridges 11 months ago

So heartbreaking, yet so beautiful. I became teary eyed and my soul ached for your family as I read At the same time, I had a smile on my face for the love I could see within your family. Thank thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for helping. My grandfather’s name was Noah Israel. My youngest daughter’s name is Noa and her twin brother is Israel. Now, whenever I think about or tell someone how they were named, I’ll think about the uplifting imagery you created and the story of love that is your family. Thank you for sharing Noah and Jonah.

Kelly Kittel 1 year ago

In response to people’s feedback after reading Breathe regarding being afraid to say the names of their friends children who have died, I recently wrote a blog/essay called Happy Golden Birthday, Noah, in which I conclude: “So, please, don’t ever think you’ll be reminding us of something we’ve forgotten by saying their name. We’re more likely to be wondering if you have.”

Kelly Kittel 1 year ago

Thank you all VERY much for your wonderful, heartfelt comments and stories. I am holding them in my heart and truly treasure them all. If any of you do read Breathe, which is available online or in bookstores, I’d love to hear from you again! Scary Mommy is amazing and I’ll post again some day soon.
One love…

Brenda Moran 1 year ago


Nina Raquel 1 year ago

Your little angel will ALWAYS be on our minds and heart. ❤

Linda Faye Mabry 1 year ago

I don’t think it possible to covey that deep feeling of needing to hear their name or of saying. It’s really the sweetest sound, and so disappointing when someone else feels it’s sad. It’s all you can have left is the honor, and pride of their memory. <3

Jessica Barney 1 year ago

It’s not awful. We feel our own mortality and realize how fragile a life is… not something we are used to being reminded of.

Sarah Sousa Stevens 1 year ago

Kelly, you live in my state. My heart breaks for the loss of your sons.

Margaret 1 year ago

Emilie Rose and Jessie Lucia, in Heaven with JESUS. ALLELUIA for HIS LIFE.

Angela ‘Dray’ Gideon 1 year ago

I agree…I love hearing stories about my sweet Nevaeh and knowing how she impacted those around her during her short 8 years on Earth. I understand the desire and despite the tears of hearing their name and living in the moment of loss, you also cry tears of joy that your child was loved by others.

Brenda Moran 1 year ago

Truly beautiful.

Gemma 1 year ago

Beautiful story. I have a Noah too and he’s a little firecracker (and a Seth). I wanted to call him Johah.
I chose their names for their meaning.
Thankyou for staring, to be reminded to be thankful for every thing and every moment we have xx

Monique Wilson 1 year ago

My unborn son’s name is Noah…. This made me cry….

Julie Katz 1 year ago

beautifully written so sorry for you loss

Rebecca Brentlinger Young 1 year ago

Oh such a beautiful remembrance.

Gigi Woolbert Hart 1 year ago

Wow! That was beautiful!

Bri Koop 1 year ago

Beautifully written… We’re currently struggling with finding the “perfect” name for our son who is due at the end of August. The reason it’s been especially difficult this time around is that our son, Marlow, died near the end of last August, and his name is so packed with meaning for us that we are afraid of giving this new little boy too much or too little in his. I’m sure it will come to us, but it’s definitely a struggle we didn’t anticipate after losing our baby.

Katrina 1 year ago

I went to your website and read your story and I am crying for you. The heartbreak that you have been through would break most people, I’m sure it would break me. Your strength and beauty is amazing and inspiring. Your story really does make a difference I hope you know that. I wish you all the happiness in the world!

Olivia Michelle 1 year ago

Geeez. I started reading this thinking I would be the “tough”one. My Noah will be 5 and just reading his name in this brought tears.
Beautiful story!

amy w 1 year ago

My cousin and his wife lost their little Noah to premature delivery at about 23 weeks. A few weeks after I miscarried at almost 10 weeks. We didn’t know the gender but we felt she was a girl and my husband chose Solena as her name. My son’s initials spell ARKH (like Noah’s Ark) to honor my cousin and their baby.

Jess Davidson 1 year ago

So very sweet and sad to know this loss.. My Fallyn has been my saving grace in every way. Two losses and when she arrived it was love at first sight, let alone first heart beat. People get lost in the fear of sharing their love of their lost loved ones.. You are brave and wonderful and I cried my eyes out reading this. God bless you..

Emily Hawkes Malnar 1 year ago

Thanks. I love talking about Daniel and thinking of what kind of kid/adult he would have been. That was a great article.

Erin Finken 1 year ago

My oldest son is also Noah Patrick. My heart hurts for you and your family.

Hanne Hoyer 1 year ago

My husband is asking me why I read something that makes me cry. I read this piece because it reminds me to be more human, that we are not forever, that we should treasure the moments and love the memories.

Jennifer Lizza 1 year ago

Beautiful! Noah & Jonah you are loved!

Kelsie Kelly 1 year ago

Very touching <3

Denise Perez 1 year ago

Thank you Rebecca Larson Allen. This means a lot to me I love my baby been 7 years and I miss her so much

Cheryl Holmes 1 year ago

As I was reading your story. I kept thinking to myself that this women must write a book !! You spoke so candidly and soooo eloquently. I could almost hear the softness of your voice!! I have 4 children and two granddaughters and always pray for their safety in this world!! Thank you for sharing your painful past with us (strangers) and depicting in a way from your heart and your Love. You sound like a beautiful Mama and I, for one, wish you some serenity and peace in your Life!!!

Melody Smiling 1 year ago

We have an angel son named Joah. We fell in love with the name at first sight. We were looking forward to calling it out everyday. Now we rarely get to hear it and thats a loss in itself.

Lesley Jeruzal 1 year ago

Beautiful!!!!!! Loss mamas share a special bond- thinking of all my special sisters- until we can hold our babies again, may we hold each other up!!

Sheryll L. March Muka 1 year ago

20 years ago I miss carried with my sweet twins….
I never did get to meet them. I never got to hold them and kiss them. They are forever missed.
My prayers to the family

Claire Smith 1 year ago

This is just how I feel about my son :) there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him :)

Jessica Lee Cornell 1 year ago

I just laid my Noah down for the evening. I’ll be sure to check on him two or three times more throughout the night, and kiss and hug him extra when I drop him off at daycare tomorrow.

Noah. Noah. Noah. Noah.

Candace Toews 1 year ago

So many similarities, too many to mention in this space. I still grieve our miscarriage, and often when I’m asked how many kids we have my inside voice says “three!” We were so blessed to have Elan for three years, three months and one day. And now we are a family of three. I’m still pretty pissed at God about everything, but this is the season of Elan leaving us, the sadness clouding over my bitterness. However, many friends remind me that Elan would much rather see us all smiling and laughing than sobbing and restless. So I work toward smiling.

Jessy Clark Kyle 1 year ago

So beautiful and powerful

Paula Brown Price 1 year ago

Pass the tissues, please!

Jamie Melia 1 year ago

This is so beautiful❤️

Leann 1 year ago

I am not even pregnant but have been considering Noah as a name for one of our next children. I love to pick names with meaning. My sons is Aiden and I chose it cause of the meaning and that pregnancy was a very trying time in my life and he is what helped me get thru it and still does to this day

Sara O’Brien Farmer 1 year ago

It is such a misconception that it is painful to hear the name of the child we lost. It is music to our ears.

Melissa K Thomas 1 year ago

This is amazing. As an Auntie, I couldn’t wait for my niece to get here. My sweet Raven left us only after 3 weeks, but she has forever changed my life. I miss her every moment of every day.

Lacey Thatch Chamberlin 1 year ago

As I was reading this my Noah was running through the yard. All the times I yell my childrens name over and over in frustration when they dont come. I will remember this story and be thankful I have him to call and know he will show up eventually.

Kristie Herrington Zahn 1 year ago
Josie 1 year ago

I see you Noah. i see you Jonah. Your names will never be still!

Lauren Maxine 1 year ago

I hugged my baby boy a little tighter when I read this :-(

Mari Miltimore 1 year ago

Man, I cannot imagine what it’s like. Nobody should lose a child.

Deena Olson 1 year ago

I cried while reading this to my husband! Loved it

Autumn Moore 1 year ago


Tilly Sargeant 1 year ago

Yep, tissues definitely needed for this one

Bethanne Arthur 1 year ago

My own son is named Noah Patrick, and this story just pulled at my heart in so many different directions. A mother’s loss will never been any less important or significant as time goes on, and I am happy to read that the Kittel family has been blessed with all of their children and love ❤️

Nicole Woods-Sisk 1 year ago

Wow, very powerful.

Ziegler Beth 1 year ago

So touching and true

Wilhelms Rule 1 year ago

Beautiful and tragic…thanks for sharing! I too have angel and rainbow babies…xo!

Sarah Goodie-Root 1 year ago

Beautifully written !!

Melissa Labeck Montanez 1 year ago

Sweet Noah, may you rest in peace. :~(

Nicole Debra Thomas 1 year ago

So terribly sad. Every parents nightmare.

Shorelines 1 year ago

Kelly – I am so sorry that your boys are not here on earth with you. Our Noah is also missing from our family. He was born still at term – big and healthy and strong – I know he was because I felt his life inside me – but still. He would be approaching his 6th birthday this summer. Like your Jonah, our Noah’s sister too is named as a dove in his memory. Our Noah was never of the world so, even though he was named well before his birth and death, no one else loved him by name like we did. My husband and I – and rarely his siblings – are the only ones who speak his name now. But for awhile, when we were first missing him, sometimes someone else would say it – “Noah” – oh what a gift!

Amy Lawrence Bozza 1 year ago

So beautiful. So heartbreaking.

Meghan Nelson 1 year ago

Beautiful, touching words.

Valerie Ann 1 year ago

Should have gotten the tissues ahead of time. I do love hearing my sons name spoken by everyone – how each person says it just differently. So precious! I’m so thankful he is in my life!!!! Very well written! <3

Amey Bennett Agueda 1 year ago

As the momma to 8 beautiful children 4 whom are in gods arms this made me cry too.

Taylor Rome 1 year ago

That was truly beautiful and a little painful to read. Very happy I read this though. Thank you so much.

Caroline McDonald 1 year ago

:'( so beautifully written and heartfelt

Felisha Mood-Rarick 1 year ago

Definitely true. Jordan, momma will always love you <3

Lindsay Faulkner 1 year ago

My eldest is a Noah Patrick. And he’s autistic himself. This shook me to my soul. You are an inspirational and strong woman, I bow to your awesomeness

Lisa Mann 1 year ago

What a heartbreaking story. My two little boys are named Noah and Jonah. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

Diana Franke Biniewicz 1 year ago

Crying!!!! So beautifully written…

Lauren 1 year ago

Though you’ll have to read them, please know that I am saying them out loud as I type. NOAH. JONAH. They are not forgotten.

Christy Crotser 1 year ago

I’m pregnant with a rainbow baby right now, and all I can extend to this momma is love.

Natalie Spencer 1 year ago

Beautiful and haunting. Thank you for reminding all of us that sometimes what we feel we can’t or shouldn’t say is exactly what’s needed.

Yesi Carnet 1 year ago

This couldn’t be any more true.

Katie AndChris Case 1 year ago


Charis Andrews Hanberry 1 year ago

What beautiful words…

Daniela Webber Allman 1 year ago

Incredible courage. Bless you and your family.

Whitlow Fam 1 year ago

My empathy is extended to you and yours as our extended family has also suffered the loss of a very young child. While their lives may have been cut short the “gifts” they’ve left behind will forever be a blessing. They may be gone, but they are surely not forgotten.

Ingrid Walerius 1 year ago

Heavy heart but such a beautiful story; thank you for sharing

Jenny Kruschke 1 year ago

My heart hurts after reading this. How completely devastating.

Kylie 1 year ago

Thank you so much for your story. I’m so sorry. I love all your kids names. I too loved naming my little ones. Only one is living so I never get to hear the other two’s names. I wish I could more. I lost my first two to miscarriage so very few people knew about them at all and no one thinks to mention them at all. I wish I could hear all their names everyday.

    Kelly Kittel 1 year ago

    Kylie, and others, please feel free to shout your kids names out right here on Scary Mommy! I’d love to hear them!

      Jeannette 1 year ago

      Joan Elizabeth White. Joan meaning gift of God and Elizabeth meaning Oath of my God and also my late grandmothers name. I can’t say her name without crying yet but her name is what she was.Your article is wonderful. I have one living and three gone but we only knew the gender of Joan and she was born living for only 10 minutes. I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us know that we are not alone.


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