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…
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.