May is a month of meaningful memories for me.
Starting on the very first of May, I remember the days my children celebrated May Day by making tiny baskets to hang for neighbors in our tree lined block. They delighted to hang their surprise on the doorknob, ring the bell, and race away.
As a girl growing up Catholic in my Little Italy neighborhood, May was the month to honor the Virgin Mary. Her shrine on my bedroom dresser was an inverted shoe box covered with a lace doily where her veiled figure in her blue and pink gown stood with outstretched arms, honored by a bouquet of plastic flowers.
May brought Mother’s Day with its promise of breakfast in bed, crayoned cards, and a sweet visit to see my mother. May meant many end of school year celebrations. Spring concerts. Awards banquets. Graduations. I’d weep quietly but shamelessly—at the preciousness of my children making me proud and the awareness that each event marked their move farther away from me.
May was the month that spring would be assured. Five years after my divorce when I had not only found love again but also the faith to marry again, May was the month we chose for our wedding day. It always was the month he planted our garden with the flowers he vowed to grow for me for a lifetime.
This May the shrine in my home hosts Quan Yin, the goddess of love and compassion. This year’s graduation is for grad school instead of grade school and my children will call from cities far away on Mother’s Day. My mother is no longer alive. Neither is my husband.
So many May emotions.
There is a precarious point when past memories arise and we must decide the path to pursue.
Will I focus on the loss of what once was?
Will I feel alone in the world because my loved ones are not with me?
Can I find meaning in my memories?
Will I make new memories while honoring those of the past?
My collection of meaningful memories grows bigger each year. I want to honor those which have gone by, recognizing the risk of falling into the abyss of sadness over countless losses. As in most of my life, balance seems to be the place worthy of pursuing.
As you move through the divorce experience, will you allow yourself both the glad glow of happy memories gone by together with the sadness of what may never be again? Will you consider the new happy memory you can make today?
We can contain multitudes. Birth. Marriage. Babies. Parenting. Divorce. Death. Life includes them all, and along with them countless memories. As I plant flowers in my window box this month and look forward to that Mother’s Day call, I wish you a May filled with making memories that mean the most to you.