There are so many components to grief that if you’ve never gone through the process, you don’t know what is coming next. This week, I realized a new aspect of my grieving process – the sadness and guilt of letting go of my married name.

I am getting married in October, and while I was driving home from the gym yesterday, I realized that I would be letting another piece of my late husband go, his name. That is major because I’ve been a “Jones” for nine years. It’s one of the things that still makes me feel connected to him and our life together. When I first got married, I wrestled with changing my last name. My maiden name is my mother’s family name. I was born out of wedlock so I had her last name. It’s our family name. Even when my estranged father asked me to legally change my last name to his when I was a teenager, I said no. I had no emotional connection to his last name. All of my family ties were to my mother’s side of the family, and I was proud to carry my grandfather’s name. So when I married, my legal name became my first name, maiden name and new married name. I didn’t want to let my family name go. However, in these last nine years, I’ve embraced being a “Jones,” and even more so since my husband died. Today, it doesn’t feel strange to hear people call me by that last name.

However, God is doing a new thing in my life, and things are changing again. I am getting married, and I want to honor my new husband so I am letting the “Jones” name go for myself (my children will always carry their father’s legacy) and am fully embracing becoming a “Harris.” Yep, that’s what my new last name will be.

Here’s a fun fact. Taraji P. Hensen’s character’s name in “Think Like a Man” is Lauren Harris.

Letting go of my late husband’s last name is another major step in moving forward. It signifies that my life is going on. Yes, I still have feelings of guilt. I don’t know why we feel guilty when we keep moving forward after a loved one dies, but it’s there. I feel like I am leaving him behind. However despite those feelings, I know that if I am going to experience and fully embrace all that God still has for me, I have to walk into my new season and let go of the past.

With that being said, I also had a revelation on my drive home from the gym. Wedding hashtags have become very popular. Ever since I got engaged, I’ve been trying to think of a cute hashtag to use for our wedding. For almost a year, I was stumped, but as I was driving home it came to me (I wasn’t even really thinking about it either). So our wedding hashtag is…

You better use it!

Isn’t it cute? My fiancé even likes it and he’s a “man’s man.” So I’m excited. I believe that it is a sign of things to come, and God’s reminder that my best days are not behind me, but ahead. I hope this is a reminder for you that even after tragedy, there still can be joy waiting for you on the other side.

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