Names and What they Carry~

I kept my maiden name when Chuck and I married.   It was, in fact, a condition, so to speak.  Not long after he’d proposed to me, I approached him one day and told him I had something I had to tell him.

My first marriage was emotionally and physically abusive and ended in divorce. It took me a long time to find my center again, once I’d gotten away from my ex.  I took back my maiden name at the time of my divorce and I recall, once the judge banged the gavel and declared me divorced, stepping up on the railing that ran around his high desk, and reaching across to shake his hand, thanking him for my freedom.

So, I told Chuck, I wanted to keep my maiden name when he and I married.  I’d fought long and hard and my own identity was important.  He breathed a sigh of relief and said is that all?  I thought you were going to say you didn’t want to marry me!

Chuck was proud of me over the years of our marriage.  He kind of liked it that I had my own name, and he encouraged my independence.

Somewhere in our 20th year, he asked me one day if I’d re-think taking his last name.  For no particular reason;  just that he liked the idea of sharing our last name.  I did consider it but I was building a name professionally, with my maiden name, and didn’t want to muck that up.  So I stayed Miller.

In our 23rd year of marriage, out traveling on the road as Happily Homeless, the question came up again.  He said it differently that time, and I really, really, thought about it.  I could feel his feeling about it, but I hesitated again.  I was so attached to my name; it spoke to who I was, even if it no longer mattered professionally.  There was, on his part, understanding but some disappointment also.

Why do I bring this up now?  Because, running around in my mind and my brain in the last few days, I’m thinking about his request again.   Maybe taking his last name now will give me a closer connection to him, now that he’s no longer by my side.  Of course, I know that connections happen in the heart, in our minds, but I acknowledge, too, that what we do externally can affect a change internally and perhaps taking his last name of Dearing would give me a further sense of that connection.

I don’t know yet.  My heart is still ruminating over the idea.  Practically speaking, I can’t afford it at the moment, in any case.  But it’s interesting to me that, 4 years out from his death, this idea is rising up in me again.

Alison Miller or Alison Dearing?


18 thoughts on “Names and What they Carry~

  1. I am old fashioned, I believe in the wife taking her husband’s name; I don’t like the hyphenated last names either. But that’s just me.

    • I can appreciate that fully, Ronald. It’s funny, because in many ways Chuck and I had elements of an old fashioned marriage. The name thing, when we married, though, was huge with me, because of the time spent in figuring it all out after my bad first marriage. I may start combining Chuck’s last name with mine, at least unofficially. Thanks for your input to this; I’m always touched when those in my community of support take the time to respond to my writings~

  2. Dearing is a nice name but you stay the same YOU regardless of your decision. it is all up to you and how you want your mission to unfold, my dear.

  3. I can’t ever imagine giving up Jerry’s name. I too had two marriages that were horrible and both filled with domestic violence. For me, seeing Jerry’s name gives me comfort. I know many will tell you to “move on!” I think you should do whatever gives you comfort.

    • Sharon, each of us really does need to find our own way through this morass, don’t we? I keep Chuck’s name plate from when he was Civil Service, and the jacket from his uniform, right with me, always because of the comfort it brings to me. There will never be a moving on for me. Just moving the energy as it needs to move. Thank you for your words here, for taking the time to respond. May your day be blessed with Love~

  4. Beautiful post. As in the past, I’m sure he’ll support your decision, either way.I love that you are considering it for a deeper connection, rather than for feeling regret.


  6. Alison.. I so love to read your thoughts,ideas and dreams. Through you at the moment anyway, I am living vicariously ,still working on my little camper and hopefully soon will have her up and ready for her maiden voyage. I am so sorry for your loss but I commend you for your bravery and independent spirit for what you are accomplishing. Now,…. As far as your name??? You do what you feel is right in your heart. What about the combination of the two?? That way you don’t lose what you fought hard for so many years but also maybe to honor him as well. Whatever you decide I’m sure he is looking down upon you with love for even considering it. God bless you my fellow spirited warrior… May you continue to fly on your journey.. With the sun on your face, a song in your heart and a good memory tucked away deep in your soul.

    • Cindy, combining my name with Chuck’s is a good idea. And I could do it as an aka instead of legally changing it, at least unless I’m signing something official. I’ll do my best to keep it all interesting as I continue my Odyssey of Love, Cindy, and I’m touched that you travel with me. Believe me, it keeps me sane. I thank you for your words of Love, for your encouragement, and for being part of my community~

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