For 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…Today, 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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