I am Kayla Aleta Canada. The name Kayla means pure and beloved. Aleta means truthful, derived from Alethia, the Greek goddess of truth. Yeah, my last name’s Canada, but no, I’m not from Canada. My ancestors are actually from Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name Canada means head or helmet.
There are approximately 4,563 in the world with the last name Canada. I can’t speak for all 4,563 of them, but as for my family, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, the name Canada means more than head or helmet. The name Canada means more than that. It means hope. It means family. It means strength, sacrifice, and love that can conquer all obstacles. Being a Canada is about facing whatever life throws at you head on. It’s putting your family first and always having their backs. It’s laughing together, crying together, celebrating and mourning. It’s the way we all join in when I strum up a song on Christmas or the roar of a laugh that is undeniably a Canada’s. Yeah, we’re all a little different, but inside, we’re all the same.
Every Canada I’ve ever met is unbelievably extraordinary because to be a Canada is to be compassionate, caring, loving, admirable, faithful, reliable, driven, self-less, goofy, and strong.
The French say it means beautiful. We’re not French, but I agree with them. This compilation of men and women, aunts and uncles, parents and step-parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, brothers and sisters, it’s beautiful. I’m not saying we’re perfect because we’re not. Tragedy strikes our family too as it did Saturday, the night of my dad’s wedding, the same night my aunt died. It was horrible. It was catastrophic, and I felt that my heart was being ripped from my chest. My face tingled. It was numb as the doctor pronounced “she’s dead” to a room full of people still in their wedding clothes. The mournful screams were horrible. The sound of my other aunts gasping for air was even worse. But love filled that hospital waiting room as we formed a circle and prayed. We cried out to God in confusion, begging for healing and comfort and strength. But there was love. As the now six brothers and sisters, and their husbands and wives and kids and cousins all clasped each other’s hands, there was love. There was beauty in the chaos. There was beauty in this mess. That beauty was compassionate, caring, loving, admirable, faithful, reliable, driven, self-less, goofy, and strong. That beauty was Canada.
When I was little, I didn’t like by last name. People would pick on me, constantly ask me if I was from Canada, or if I liked maple syrup, or throw in an “Eh?” every once in a while. When I was little I hated it. But now I’m older. Now I know that to be a Canada is to be compassionate, caring, loving, admirable, faithful, reliable, driven, self-less, goofy, and strong. Now, I’m proud to have the last name Canada. I’m proud to have such amazing role models. I’m proud that I don’t have to do it alone. I’m proud that I am a Canada because to be a Canada is to be loved.