Today I write with big personal news! My soul-mate, my closest friend, my lover, my bride has changed her name.
I wanted to write this to honour this change, this milestone.
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose.
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Using prose and lyric from popular culture, I’ll share with you this latest, triumphant, victorious chapter in my wife’s life. I’ve written of her before. If you’ve never met the love of my life, feel free to read a bit about the woman formerly known as Brandee, in a piece called “She Rises.” http://earthtourist.org/2013/05/18/she-rises/
So, every Christmas, we create a video Christmas card. This year, we recorded our own version of “Where are You Christmas,” and during production, a few of the lyrics stood out as especially honouring of her continuing journey.
After two years of intense pain & emotional loss, of which I won’t go into detail here, Brandee has chosen a new name. As we planned out the song, it became apparent that the time had come to make it official.
Just as the holiday season was beginning this year, my wife commented, “I hate Christmas.” She was speaking of the constant reminders of loss and separation from people she loves and who once loved her. We honoured that pain, but also faced it head on by recording our video Christmas Card.
Where are you Christmas?
Do you remember the one you used to know?
I’m not the same one, see what the time’s done,
Is that why you have let me go?
The other night, we took our girls to see Disney’s Frozen. What a beautiful film. The soundtrack includes an incredible song called “Let it Go.” As we watched & listened, my wife was inspired to the point of tears.
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small,
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.
Up here in the cold thin air I finally can breathe,
I know I left a life behind but I’m too relieved to grieve
The name she was born with, Brandee Leigh, has simply accumulated too many painful memories, and she couldn’t bear the burden anymore. When she told me it was time, I trusted her. I wasn’t sure how well I’d adjust, but learning to love her with a new name is the least I can do.
She is her own beautiful, independent woman, flourishing in her own way. She has taken a new name, a new identity.
Brandee Leigh is now Veronica Belle.
Her name means Victory. Her name means Beauty.
Veronica knows that it may be hard for people to get it right. Maybe some will feel stubborn and some will just forget and some just won’t refer to her by name. She’s prepared to respond with grace as it will take time to adjust. But if you know her and you love her, please do. It breathes life into her heart and puts a sparkle in her eye.
I’ll wrap up this announcement with a couple of lines from Elvis Costello’s song, Veronica:
They call her a name that they never get right and if they don’t then nobody else will.
But she used to have a carefree mind of her own, with devilish look in her eye
Saying “You can call me anything you like, but my name is Veronica”
Enough of my words. Veronica says it all so much better here: