It seems like every month has some kind of special meaning (good and bad) to me pertaining to events in my life, but there are months where there are more events than others, May is one of those months.
May has had an impact on my life. It is the month that my Grandmother passed away in 1987 (a couple weeks before my high school graduation). It’s the month my Aunt Millie passed away in 2014. It is the birthday month of my niece that I am so proud of and love. It is the month that I went through daily radiation treatments for cancer in 2006. It is the month I found my cat Lucky, in 2006, near death at 4 weeks old in our backyard and also the month I had to put her to sleep in 2017. My divorce was finalized in 2013. I walked for my Masters Degree in 2012 (officially I had graduated in December 2011). Started and left a few jobs throughout the years in May. Received the keys to the retail space to build my childhood dream in 2017. I’m sure there are a bunch of other things too that happened in May.
The events in May changed me for various reasons, they taught me lessons and helped to make me the person I am today.
When my grandmother passed away, I was devastated (I wouldn’t feel that devasted or more until my dad and aunt passed in 2014). She had lived with us since I was age 1, I don’t remember her not being an integral part of my life. She was my best friend growing up. I remember her (and my mom and my Aunt Millie) teaching me how to play card games, I was playing pinochle when I was about 5 or 6. I still love playing card games and my love of poker is because of them. She also convinced me to go to Robert Morris University, I was going to go to Community College and live at home to help my mom take care of her. We had a lot of deep conversations. I know she is one of my Guardian Angels and I am here today because she kept me from taking my own life a few times.
I thought losing my Grandma was bad, then in 2014 I lost my dad followed 4 weeks later in May losing my Aunt Millie. I was close with Aunt Millie, she helped develop my creative side. We would make crafty things when I spent the night with her. I have been told by many in my family that I am like her and I took that as a compliment. She was a second mother to me and will always be in my heart.
My niece was born in May and I am so proud of her. She reminds me a lot of myself. She got the good qualities of her parents and some of me in her. She made me so proud going to college at my alma mater, Robert Morris University. The fact that she was always on the Dean’s list and graduated with both her bachelor’s and Masters within a year of each shows her determination. She has made a name for herself where she is working and I know she will continue to go onto great things within her life. So proud and love her so much. She is a ray of sunshine in our family.
I celebrate life these days. I remember being so scared when I started chemotherapy in October 2005. However, radiation treatments were even more scary. I started them the beginning of May 2006 until May 25th. I went every day Monday through Friday. I had 26 spots on my neck region they were hitting with the laser precision radiation. I had my head in a contraption that was molded to fit only my head/face. My head was bolted down each session, I could not move for 30 minutes while the rays were pulsating around my neck. I lost my sense of taste for a year after those treatments. But I am still alive and that’s all that matters. The discomfort and scariness back then helped to make me who I am today. I still worry in the back of my head that the cancer will come back or I will get one of the cancer’s that I am now predisposition to get because of the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. However, it does not consume me and I still live life now instead of just existing.
When you are faced with life and death scenarios, you realize life is precious. When I was diagnosed with cancer, it was like getting hit by a bus, kicked in the gut, dropped from an airplane without a parachute all rolled into one emotional roller coaster. Throughout the treatments I kept thinking “if I survive this I’m going to do…… “ and started making a list. One of the things I had wanted to do was get my Master’s degree. I am a nerd and like to learn new things. So, once I felt strong enough emotionally and mentally which was two years after I was in remission, I started researching which program I wanted to do for a Master’s. I found a program called Organizational Studies at Robert Morris University and I kept going back to it because the concentrations were in Leadership and Employee Relations. I love building teams and mentoring people and so it seemed like a good fit to help me hone my skills. I started the program in 2008 and finished December 2011. I really worked hard and graduated with a 3.95 GPA. I was so proud to walk in the ceremony May 2012 and receive the diploma. Someday I’ll see if the University can change the name on it to my maiden name.
This past week was the 1-year anniversary of losing Lucky (my gray kitty). There are a lot of people who do not understand how deeply my pets mean to me. They are family. When things in my life were falling apart and the lemons were coming at me left and right, Lucky and Lucy were always there to comfort me. They knew just what I needed. Lucy is now taking the whole burden of supporting me emotionally. Her and Lucky used to share it. I had a good cry this week and I could tell Lucy knew too what day it was because she was sad too. Lucky will always be my miracle because when we found her at 4 weeks old the vet said she would be Lucky to make it through the night. God knew I needed her as much as she needed me. Together we got through that first night then that first week and once she was medically cleared we adopted Lucy to be her buddy. Those who do know me and to those who will meet me some day, never tell me “it’s just a cat” or “it’s just an animal” because until you connect with a pet, you have no idea how much of a difference they can make in your life. They are family.
This month 5 years ago my divorce was final. It was a bitter sweet day when I got the signed papers in the mail. On one hand I was happy because I could finally move on with my life. Yet on the other hand I was sad because I felt like a failure. You never go into a marriage or a relationship expecting it to end. When you start a marriage, you have high hopes and dreams of living happily ever after until death do you part. But along the way things change or people change, we evolve and if our partner is not supportive or evolving with us, we lose the connection we had in the beginning and things just go down hill from there. When my marriage ended, it was not because of one thing, it was because of many things. It was not completely his fault or my fault, when a marriage ends it’s 50/50 when it begins its 50/50. You may not understand at the time when it all ends why things happened the way they did, but when you take time to analyze things, it all makes sense. For my ex and me we were like oil and water but didn’t know it right away. There were things I did/said that triggered him and vice versa. Our biggest failure was not communicating. Personally, I have been working on communication in a current relationship and hope this time I get it right and we do have the happily ever after scenario.
I’ve been in the corporate finance world for over 25 years. I love working with numbers, pulling data together, analyzing, building teams, and making a difference to the bottom line of a company either by decreasing costs, increasing revenue or both so that profitability increases. It’s like a natural high for me to make a difference in a company. A few of the work changes throughout my career I’ve made as far as starting or leaving a company occurred in the month of May. It was almost like a spring cleaning of my career. Each company I have left, I have made a positive difference in their finances.
While I do love the corporate world, there is nothing like trying to build your own dream. If you have not attempted to fulfill a dream and get a chance, take it. As those of you who read my blogs regularly and / or follow me on the Life After Lemons Facebook page or the Life_After_Lemons Instagram account know, I did follow a childhood dream, the original dream ended, but I’m not giving up on future variations to the dream. I got the keys to the retail space in York, SC, May 1st 2017. That day I had huge dreams. Looking back on it, maybe too huge, but hey go big or go home right! Well, I went big then came home. I do not regret a thing I did with the store. I am blessed at the lessons learned and the experience to know what not to do the next time. Yes, there will be a next time because I am too damn stubborn to let one set back stop me from fulfilling my destiny.
Throughout the years, May has been a month of challenges and happiness. I wouldn’t go back and change one moment.
Remember, life is worth living not just existing. You never know when your time is up. Live the life you were meant to live.