On the eve of the seventh anniversary of my Mom’s passing, May 1, 2005, I am wondering something that I had never occurred to ask my Mom which was “Had I been born a girl, what would you have named me?”
My oldest brother was named for my father and my maternal grandmother and my other older brother was named for two uncles, first a maternal uncle and then a paternal one. I, however had been named David simply because my Mom liked the name and in the tradition of Southern families I was given the middle name of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, having been born in Arlington VA, the home of the Custis-Lee estate which became Arlington National Cemetery. When I legally changed my name to Deanna, I had considered keeping my middle name because it was somewhat gender neutral but I decided to change it instead to Joy because of the joy I now felt in living as the woman of my dreams.
People have asked me why I picked that name and my response has been that the name picked me, or rather the spirit of the woman inside me trying to get out, revealed her name to me. I looked up the meaning online and in Latin the name means “divine” and also is a variation of the name Diana, the Roman Goddess of the hunt, the forest, the moon, childbirth and young girls. In old English, where my own paternal ancestry originates, the name means “Girl from the valley.”
Anyway, now that the clock has passed midnight and it is now May 1, called May Day and associated with the Pagan celebration of Beltane, which occurs on or around this date and is a celebration of life and fertility, I want to honor my Mom, who some in my family say I resemble even more as Deanna. I want to honor her life and for bringing me into it as both son and now daughter.
She always said that all she ever wanted for her children was that we be happy. Now I am happy and only wish that she was here to see how happy I have finally become and to be happy for me. I can only hope that as an angel that she is watching over me every step of my way.
Deanna Joy Hallmark
August 22, 1915 – May 1, 2005