What’s in a name

Have you ever looked up the meaning of your name?

I did long ago, I was a curious child and wanted to know where it came from. “Protector,” that was the meaning of my name; its origin, Teutonic.

I asked my mom if I was named after my uncle, she said, no. She just liked the name.

I asked my dad if I was named after my uncle. I was not very trusting, and my mom hated my dad’s family. But he said no, not his brother but that I was named after his great uncle who as a marine, had stormed the beaches at Iwo Jima. The same uncle that later died a drunk, unable to truly come back from the horror of war.

I asked my mom if it was true that I was named after my dad’s great uncle. Again she said no, she just liked the name.

What’s in a name?

Protector, I like the sound of it and from an early age I think that I tried to embody the meaning of my name, protecting my sister, when I wasn’t torturing her myself, blood is like that, looking after my younger brother until he got bigger than me, blood is like that too. I took care to make sure that I stood up for my friends against bullies, when I could safely intercede, blood doesn’t extend beyond family. I looked after the weaker animals, the runts of the litters. Being small and introverted, I did most of the protecting in my head and my heart.

When I grew up I joined the military, like many before me in my family. In the military I felt that I was protecting my country, our way of life, our freedom, was proud of my service, I still am.

When I got married and had a family I felt honored to be their protector and I took that job very seriously including selecting their names.

My oldest son’s name means ardent or fiery. I think that it fits, he has always burned with an internal flame of passion and knowledge. As the first in my line he was destined to carry our flame forward, my family name and bloodline, long after I had quit this existence.

Next son was the rock. He was my biggest and grew into his name, at over six foot and two hundred pounds at sixteen, he dwarfed us all and he was stubborn and impervious to pain and ridicule, just like a rock.

My last son’s name was warrior or desire, depending on the origin, but I chose to think of him as a warrior, though I think he and his mother would probably say he was more associated with desire than war. Either way, both are powerful forces.

What’s in a name?

The rock was the foundation of the family. With two strong opposing forces like the fire and the warrior/desire, you needed a rock to separate them. The boys communicated through him, he was, as his name, impervious to the them both. Fire and warring desire would destroy all but for the rock, so they both loved and respected their brother the rock and they built their relationship on him. Deeply religious he made sure that we all went to church regularly, he was the meek, the strong the peace keeper all in one.

The protector with three boys and a wife to protect, I was in my element.

What’s in a name?

That all came crashing down the day that I sat on the side of the road helpless as my middle son’s life bleed out into the ditch, trapped in a car wrapped around a tree. It fell apart when I walked into the house to tell his mother that I had failed to protect our son from a horrible mangled death. It was completely lost when I realized that I had failed to teach him to respect the power and danger of a car traveling at close to 50 miles per hour hitting a one hundred year old hickory tree, to properly teach him how to drive safely on wet roads in adverse conditions.

The rock was gone back to his god. Now we live with an empty space where he once was, live with the memories of his presence. Fire and warring desire now must interact directly, carefully, not to damage the other. But through the rock they learned to love each other, and it is in that love, that they carry on. They maintain a careful peace, in order to honor his memory, his ability to hold us together. The power of his love, like the rock, endures even in death.

What’s in a name?

He was the rock, like his name.

I was the protector, but a failed protector, now without a name.

I too must learn to live past the loss of the rock, but I don’t think I can be a protector any more, not yet.

What’s in a name?

A dream of what could be…

20131227-131333.jpgThe Rock, age 5


© The Autobiography of Mr. Perfect, 2013

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4 Responses to What’s in a name

  1. Kimra says:

    What a sweet little rock & the best tribute!!

  2. We didn’t necessarily check into the names of our kids when they were born. Jason’s first name, though, means “healer” and his middle name, David, means “beloved.” He was certainly that – a beloved healer. He had the most empathetic, compassionate heart of anyone I’ve ever known, always had a hug or time to talk when someone was hurting. I miss those hugs so much; I miss my boy so much.

    A beautifully written tribute to your boy…

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