May is the month we’ve all been waiting for. The air is filled with the chirping of birds and the playground laughter of children. Backyard gardeners are savoring the smell of the dirt as they plant and nurture their flowers and vegetables. It’s light enough to go for a walk after dinner. Maybe neighbors are spending time outdoors, too, and it’s easier to visit. Mother Nature is doing all she can to convince us that life is still good, and that she supports growth in all living things.
We who have lost a spouse find special meaning in the holidays this month. Mother’s Day may be especially challenging for the men whose children have lost a mother. Men who are filling the role of mother deserve special recognition during May. Their compassion and concern for their children fuels them to care for their children while dealing with their own loss. It is not an easy task. I hope that you Dads take some time to appreciate yourself in the role of Mom on Mother’s Day, even as you honor the memory of your wife. Perhaps start the day with a breakfast that she would have prepared for a holiday. One family I know celebrates by getting some helium balloons, and with a marker, writes on the balloons the things you’d want to tell her about … an “A” on science test, a scout badge, a plant that finally flowered… they then go outdoors to a special place she enjoyed, and let the balloons float up. Afterwards, maybe share the children with a loved person, and take some time for your own hobby or friends.
Memorial Day challenges those of us who lost a spouse due to military service. There is such a contrast between the solemnity of seeing all the crosses at Arlington Cemetery, and the party atmosphere of the parades on Main Street. For the first few years, I struggled with this – how could people be laughing and eating hot dogs while so many young people have had their lives cut short? I’ve found consolation in a couple of thoughts. First, when my husband was a child, he would have been the most exuberant child at a parade. Secondly, most people have been affected by a military loss at some time. They have felt the sadness, but the horror of war is not a place where healthy people want to stay. There is a reason why military bands play the music of John Philip Sousa. It deliberately influences our psyche to veer from the exhaustion of grief to invigorate us toward marching. People come together at parades and picnics to cherish the people we still have with us. We recognize that we desperately need the support of our communities. We remember, honor, and appreciate the person who gave their life for the country.
This issue is chock full of phenomenal stories. Our readers go back in time to learn about Amelia Earhart and her husband. Just imagine how it must have felt for his wife to leave for a trip across the ocean, and not ever coming home! We visit with a musician who took up rollerblading after the loss of his wife. We also are privileged to interview Ruth Crocker, who lost her husband in Vietnam. Her book, Those Who Remain, caught the attention of President Obama. We take a look at Guilt from two perspectives because it is a complicated issue for many of us, and it never hurts to get a second opinion! I appreciate the article on fatigue. I believe that God gave us a commandment to rest (note – it’s not a suggestion) because fatigue is the enemy of compassion, creativity, and of thinking clearly. Fatigue sets us up for failure. And then, as always, we have some fun. Looking at our home in a new way might include learning about Feng Shui. A trip to a summer stock theater production or an outing to the farmers market is always fabulous. Or maybe getting away for a little vacation might prompt us to consider cottage rentals. And if on that little vacation, some romance develops, we discuss how to introduce a new person to your children. One thing that impresses me about this issue is the wide variety of paths that widows and widowers have chosen to walk. There really is no script for living well.
I hope you find comfort and inspiration from this issue.
I wish you Peace and Blessings,
Dr. Joanne Z. Moore,