How Will You Be Remembered After You Die? – My Grandpa’s 25th Anniversary

0 Posted by - January 11, 2012 - Uncategorized

[dc]F[/dc]or the longest I dabbled with the idea of naming my future son after my grandfather until about a few years ago when I got the idea for a better way to pay homage to his memory. I would be the one to take on his name. My grandfather only had one son and my uncle’s wife can’t have children so the family name would die with him unless someone picked up the mantle. In that moment I decided that that someone would be me.

I’m not sure when I learned about the hoops that women have to jump through when they change their name, but I decided that I would hold off on my homage to my grandfather until I found the woman who I would marry so that we could go through that process together. Well, that’s considering that this then-unknown woman would even be interested in taking on this new surname.

Last year I realized I had found that woman. Dating for two years she already knew about my plans to change my name when I decided to get married, but she had no guarantees that she would be “The One” just as I had no guarantees she would accept. As luck would have it, she would not only accept my offer of marriage but my dream of creating a new family lineage together.

While today represents the 25th anniversary of when I lost my heart, in three short days my wife-to-be will help me pay the ultimate homage to the memory of my grandfather by carrying his name into our future. So this Saturday is just as much a resurrection as it is our wedding day. We’ll walk down the aisle as individuals only to jump the broom as a family.

I think my grandfather would be proud…

[dc]T[/dc]oday, my grandfather’s Bible stays protected in a fire and waterproof case. While that doesn’t have the same impact of being on display in my home, it is my most prized possession—albeit sentimental value only—and I would hate to see anything happen to it.

In preparation for the wedding and the 25th anniversary of my grandfather’s passing I pulled his Bible out of his resting place. As I wiped down the leather casing, which had been coated in a thin layer of dust, I thought of my mission to read this book in its entirety all those years ago. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever be up to taking up that task again, but this book is still very much important to me.

In fact, I think I may carry it with me tomorrow as I make a return visit to my grandfather’s grave. I haven’t been since around this time last year, which I wrote about HERE. It was an emotional journey that was long overdue. Before I left I promised my grandfather that I wouldn’t let another 24 years go by before coming back and I’m a man of my word. Besides, we have a lot to talk about. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some of that sage advice about marriage and life I’ve always been looking for.

R.I.P., grandpa. You’re gone but will never be forgotten… Forever in my heart and now eternally a part of my name.

Have you ever lost someone extremely close to you? How do you keep their memory alive? Do you have a personal item from a loved one that has sentimental value to you? Do you keep it on display or tucked away in a safe place? Why? How often do you visit their grave if at all? Would you consider taking on the name of a loved one as a way to pay homage to them? Would you make that kind of change with your future spouse if it were important to him/her? Do you think that it should be a given that women automatically give up their last name when they get married? Do you think my grandfather would be proud of the man I’ve become?

Speak your piece…

NWSO PRESS: Be sure to pick up the February 2012 issue of Essence magazine (Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade), which features NWSO as part of a round table discussion on the new relationship rules (pgs. 78-82).  

NWSO SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT: On January 17, 2012, yours truly will be speaking alongside author/dating coach Tionna Smalls (What Chilli Wants) on a panel entitled The Young & the Restless: A Survival Guide to Dating, Mating, & Exploring NYC. Presented by the New York Urban League of Young Professionals, the discussion takes place from 6:30-8:30pm at NYU. CLICK HERE for more info.

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  • jaclynsd

    I’m a proud person (too much at times) but maybe because its easier on here or because I need to stop being so proud I’ll admit this made me misty and almost cried. Not because it’s sad you lost your grandpa but because you admired him so and obviously he helped shaped your life in such a big way in such a short time. I think it’s a great thing you’re doing changing your name after all he was a father to you and his impact was great and now his name will be carried on in proof of that. 
    I lost someone close a while back and your friend is right they will always remain in your heart. Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories it was truly touching.

  • Buapimv

    This is a beautiful piece and very courageous of you to share your innermost feeling with your audience. I pray that God blesses you in your new journey:-)

  • Alfred Edmond Jr

    This is such an amazing tribute. It was all I could do not to burst into tears while reading it at my desk. May God continue to bless you and your betrothed as you embark on the adventure of matrimony. I believe that your grandfather will be standing right with you, beaming with pride, as he has during your entire journey to manhood.

  • Jay Williams

    An awesome article about an act of devine rememberance….!

  • Jacinda

    That was a beautiful tribute. 

    I lost my mom (almost) seven years ago, in March 2005. Her memory is lives in the thoughts and reflections of my sister and I. I don’t visit her grave…I can’t. Even though it’s been so long, I still miss her. So when my husband and I decided to get married, we chose to get married around the time of her passing (she passed on March 25, we married on March 28). That way, when that time comes around every year, instead of focusing on sadness, we celebrate our new life together…I wore the dress that my mother and I had picked out (for a previous fiance) when I walked down the aisle…my sister, who was my maid of honor, walked down the aisle with an extra long stemmed white lily, and placed it on the front pew…I believe that my mom was right there, cheering me on in our new life together….as one era ends, another begins…On another note, I don’t think that it’s automatic that a woman should give up her last name when she gets married. It was important to my husband, so I took his last name. If my husband wanted to change names to remember a loved one, I would absolutely do it. Everyone celebrates and remembers their loved ones in their own way. 

    I still have the wedding dress. I want to preserve it for my daughter’s wedding day…it’s my way of passing down my mother’s gift to her…

  • Lonias

    Each year that you write about your grandfather on the anniversary of his death, I get to know him more.  That’s the level of honor you bestow on him when you write about him.  

    God bless you on the day you establish your own family!

  • Ms. Understood

    Happy wedding day to you and your wife. I think your grandfather would be very proud of what you have accomplished and who you are today. The sting of losing a loved one always hurts, although we learn to adjust to life without them. I lost my mom on 9/18/99. I have lots of her items, including her Bible.