Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clarissa's middle name

A comment just reminded me that I was going to tell the story of Clarissa's middle name.

Her middle will be Rose, which is my great-grandmothers name. Actually, she's technically NOT my great-grandmother, she's not even a blood relative. But she had an important part in our family and even though she died when I was a baby I've grown up hearing stories of what a wonderful person she is.

When my grandpa was a baby around 1920, his mother died of the flu. His father wasn't able to care for my grandpa on his own so my grandpa's mothers best friend Rose stepped in and offered to raise him. She didn't have any kids of her own and she was a wonderful mother to my grandpa. I've grown up hearing stories of what a wonderful, happy, caring person my great grandmother Rose was.

The next part of the story might not make sense if you're not LDS, but I'll try to explain it the best I can. In our religion we believe that we have the opportunity to be with our family after we die, but in order to do that there is a ceremony that is performed in a temple that "seals" us together for eternity. That's something that is extremely important to us in our religion. My great grandmother Rose had raised my grandpa from the time he was a newborn and she was the only mother he knew. She could have legally adopted him and had him sealed to her in the temple so that they would be together for eternity. That's what we'll be doing with Clarissa. Once she's legally adopted and sealed to our family, she's considered a member of our eternal family and we believe that we all have the opportunity to be together again after death.

But Rose chose not to do that. As much as she loved my grandpa and treated him as her own child, she loved his mother so much that she wanted him to be with her again when he died. So she never officially adopted him and when he was old enough she went to the temple with him and stood in for my grandpa's mother as a proxy in the ceremony and had him sealed to her.

The significance of that might be hard to understand for someone not of our religion, but that was quite a sacrifice for her to make. What a wonderful example of friendship.

Rose lived to be quite old and dedicated her life to serving others. Though I have no memories of her (She died a few months after I was born), I've grown up hearing stories of her and what a wonderful, kind hearted person she was. I love reading her life history and learning more about her. I wish that I had gotten the opportunity to know her.

When it came time to give Clarissa a middle name, Rose was the very first person who came to my mind. She knew what it was like to raise a child who wasn't biologically hers and she loved my grandpa like her own. We have given all of our kids middle names in honor of people in our family history. We carefully pick the name of someone in our family who has passed who we hope that our children will want to learn more about and use as an example in their lives. I can't think of any better example for Clarissa than Rose. I hope that Clarissa grows to be a kind, loving person just like her great-great-grandmother Rose.

So Clarissa's name is pretty special to us. She's named after two strong women in our family history (If you haven't heard the story behind Clarissa's first name, click here: and here: and I hope that when she's older she'll want to learn about those women and use their example as a guide in her life.

Clarissa Rose. Two special names for a very special little girl. :)


Unknown said...

I think Clarissa Rose is a beautiful name. I am curious about her current name. Do you plan to keep it and incorporate it with her English name?

Christie said...

What a lovely story! Rose sounds like a really beautiful person. I was also curious as to her current name.

My5Blessings said...

Clarissa Rose is a VERY Beautiful name!

Jenn said...

Great name choice. SO sweet!