I’ve mentioned before that my daughter **Krystal is named after my sister, who died in 1983 at age 17 after a 2 year battle with cancer.
We have photos of my sister Krystal around the house, and she comes up in conversation occasionally with my mother. My mother always uses my sister’s middle name along with her name, as in Krystal Lee for my sister, as opposed to Krystal Jane for my daughter. But the funny thing is, I don’t need to hear those distinctions as I always know which Krystal she is referring to.
My girls have been asking to visit my sister’s grave for awhile. It’s not a place I visit often – I don’t happen to believe that there is anything of “her” there. But they’d been asking, and we didn’t have anything else on the docket, so we made the 30 minute drive to visit.
One of the reasons I first shied away from naming my daughter for my sister was this gravestone. I didn’t want my daughter to feel weird about seeing her name on a gravestone. The two Krystals do have different middle names, but my sister’s middle name does not appear on her stone. This was Krystal’s first look at it, and my first visit with her. And remarkably enough, the name on the gravestone was my sister’s name. Yes, the letters and arrangement are identical to my daughter’s, but that wasn’t my daughter’s name. Despite identical spellings and pronunciations, the names are as distinct to me as the people who own them.
There were flowers, some pink geraniums, planted at the grave. One of my sister’s friends must be keeping that up, as my step-sister’s grave, which is a short walk away, was unadorned. Because this cemetery is in the town where I grew up, many of the names are familiar to me – parents of classmates, even some classmates themselves, are now buried there. It was a much more reflective visit than I expected it to be.
**Krystal is a pseudonym