Since my father’s death in 2003, holidays have been hard. Really hard. There’s nothing more bittersweet than remembering the happy times and realizing that those times are gone — you’ll never see them again and it makes your heart sting with sadness. One of the most bittersweet holidays, at least for me, has always been Father’s Day. No one took the job title of “Dad” more seriously than my father; you could just see the glimmer of joy in his eyes whenever he spoke of his role. Maybe that’s why I realized something pretty major after his death: What my last name means to me!
And even more exciting? I got to write about it for Ravishly, just in time for Father’s Day! My essay “What I Realized About My Last Name After My Father’s Death” went live yesterday and in it, I reflected on my changing perspective on my last name over the years. It’s gone from pure hatred (It’s boring! It’s bland!) to a deep appreciation. I began to realize that my last name is a part of me and it’s a part of my father’s legacy. It keeps me tied to him.
Here’s an excerpt of the essay, which sort of felt like a pep talk to myself as I was writing it. I mean, the ending is pretty much golden, if you ask me…
My father may have been gone, but he was still here. My name connected me to him, and that realization was incredibly powerful. Maybe, in the end, it’s more about what your last name represents. It shows your history. It shows where you came from. It’s part of your past.
My last name links me to my father. Every time I see it, every time I write it down, I think of him. It helps me keep him alive in my soul, and it makes me feel like I’m carrying a part of him with me wherever I go.
Slowly, I could feel that anger begin to soften a bit. It no longer ate away at me the way it once did.
That last name doesn’t seem so bland or boring anymore. Because at the end of the day, Melissa Blake is strong. Melissa Blake is fierce. Melissa Blake is independent. Melissa Blake is who I am and who I always will be.
You can read the full essay here and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can’t wait to hear from you! Love you all… xoxo