imageDo I or don’t I? A question that consumed me for nine months.

When my sister Meghan passed, I promised to name my first-born after her. It was a decision made during intense grief, but pledged before 1500 people at her funeral. I meant it as an amazing tribute to an amazing person.

More than a decade later, I remember that decision and pledge as if it were yesterday. Even with all the time that’s passed, my emotional scars still haven’t healed. Tough scabs have formed over those old wounds. My true grief and emotions hidden from plain sight. From time to time, though, those wounds crack just like a scab and emotionally I bleed. It’s unexplained and unexpected and sometimes it hurts just as much as it did April 19, 2003. The day my life changed forever.

The pain just doesn’t last as long because I’ve learned how to tuck it away faster. Life marches on. I met my husband. Now we have a family. There are new beginnings in my life. New things to focus on.

A big focus for the last year — what to name our child? We didn’t find out if we were having a boy or girl. We just felt blessed to be parents. A healthy and happy boy or girl was fine for us.

We went back and forth on the pros and cons of crib mattresses, swings, and strollers. Names seemed rather easy. We picked out a boy name quickly. We both liked it.

Surprisingly, it was the girl name that was hardest. Even though I made a pledge in 2003, I now questioned whether that was the right decision. Not only did I wonder whether it was the right thing to do, but my husband did too. He didn’t say much. I’m sure as to not offend me.

We focused on other “M” names that we both liked. We compiled a list. We paired the names with middle names.

MegsLong after we came to a final decision on the boy name, we still weren’t sure on the girl name. Then one day, it came to me — Meghan Ella. Together both names flowed so well together. A tribute to my best friend — Meghan Elizabeth — and an honor to my new child.

Once we had the right combo of names for our daughter, we knew it was the right thing to do.

Maybe my husband joined the Meghan party easily because he was convinced we were having a boy as that’s what 99% of people thought. So many people thought I was carrying a boy, I began believing it!

imageThen the nurses told us, “it’s a girl!” A little shock for my husband, who told me weeks before he would be shocked if we had a girl. I’m sure my sister Meghan was laughing. She’d love Wes and sure she found this “surprise” comical.

Now that we had our new Meghan, you’d think we’d start calling her by her name. That’s not what happened. We called her “baby” for the longest time. I don’t know why, but we both did it. I think it was because we referred to my belly as the little one or baby for nine months since we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl. We never developed that name and baby connection while in the womb.

My husband first uttered the word “Meghan” a few days after we had her and it caused me to pause for a moment. To hear that name again was refreshing but alarming. I still often refer to her as Meghan Ella, to differentiate from my sister.

As time goes on it’s gotten easier to speak the name again. People ask me what we will call her. I called my sister Megs. I don’t know the answer to that yet. I want Meghan Ella to have a unique identity, while honoring her amazing aunt.

I’m glad we went with the name Meghan. Our daughter brings her own unique identity to the name, and it’s good for that name that once brought so many smiles to our faces to once again rekindle the need to smile in our family.

Hug your loved ones in honor of the two Meghans’ that bring us the biggest smiles!