What’s in a name? I remember reading that the sweetest word someone can hear is their own name. It is what they are referred to, how they identify themselves. When it is said lovingly, it is music to the ears and the heart. My birth name is Edie Dena Weinstein. Edie is translated as “rich gift” and Dena has variations of “slender” in Hebrew, “valley” in Native American heritage and “she has saved” in various African cultures. When I was growing up, Edie was an uncommon girl’s name and it brought with it, the baggage of easy mispronunciation. Come September, on the first day of school, well educated teachers would call me Eddie. Mortified year after year, I somehow survived the childhood trauma:) When I got married, I became a hyphenate, adding Moser to an already long name. Professionally and personally, that became the way in which I was known in the world. On December 21, 1998, the man I had married and whose name I shared, died while awaiting a liver transplant. I maintained the name as much out of habit after awhile, rather than feeling married.
Fast forward and I am sitting in the office of my friend Irene Bojczuk who is a life coach. I had told her that since turning 51, my intentions had been to make this next stage of my life one of manna-festing (I like this term because it is symbolic of ‘manna from heaven’) my heart’s desires such as an abundant career using my creative gifts of writing and speaking and attracting a committed relationship partner. She looked at me as if the question she was about to ask was the most obvious one to consider. “Then WHY are you still using your husband’s last name?” My simple response was “It has been mine for 22 years and it is how people know me.” The thought of giving it up sent an emotional ‘gulp’ ringing throughout my entire body and yet I knew she was on target. Energetically, referring to myself as Edie Weinstein-Moser was putting out a message to the Universe that I was still married, at least to the name. When I left the session, I tried it out, imagining introducing myself to people with my new (well actually old since it has also been mine for 28 years prior to meeting and marrying Michael). When I got home, I changed the voice mail messages on home and cell phone, as well as doing word surgery on my name on the various social networking websites and groups I am on. I sent an email to my friends and told my mother. Unanimously, people supported my decision, sensing the rightness of the shift. I will make the legal name change next year.
Last year around this time, I was interviewed by a talented journalist named Naila Francis who writes for The Doylestown Intelligencer, a regional newspaper in the Philadelphia area, about the subject of grief around the holidays. As both a grief counselor and someone who lost a loved one at a time when many are in celebration mode, I was well suited to speak on the topic. I told her that it was the first year that I felt a semblance of normalcy. For the first ten years, I lived in a state of remembered sadness, fatigue, poor sleep, being on auto-pilot much of the time. At year ten, I plunged headlong into the depths of the loss one last time. Last year, I was fully able to enjoy the beauty of holiday decorations and music, unencumbered by the ‘body memory’ that had me reliving the experience leading up to and following Michael’s passing. This year, as I write this entry, it is even easier.
I am convinced that the name change had a great deal to do with the ease and comfort with which I am moving through what heretofore had been a challenge. In no way does it dishonor what we had as a couple. It does however, honor the metamorphosis I am exploring as I emerge as a gloriously wing-spread butterfly, soaring on the wind~ I welcome the beauty that I know will accompany me on the journey.