{I Lost the Month of May: A poem} by Melody Harrison Hanson

I lost the month of May
somewhere between watching my mother
suffer extreme pain and mental confusion.

I felt her pass by heavily; Time,
slowed to a crawl
as I was watching.
And now, the month of May is gone.

Time lost cannot be retrieved.
I know this as my friend’s cancer roars in wildly.
This third time more persistent.
And I am heavy with awareness that the months and days of her reprieve, I spent

weighed down with my life.

Gone is the month of May
on bursts of sudden energy, then

languishing in the dark.
Being strong and capable,

as my heart leaked lost time.

I watched the hours tick by at my mother’s bedside.

Time lost forever?
or time spent on forever.

Knowing forever is such a long time.

Friend love stretches on forever.
Mother-daughter love lasts forever too.

Each, a lifetime of forevers found,
to be savored. Still,
the month of May is spent,

costly. On loving.
Or is it simply lost and gone?

We are all lost and found.
I am a friend and daughter.
Love is here, there,
and gone.

As I sit here thinking
my heart is leaking
forever time.

{“Advice” to Friends Getting Hitched: Things I’ve Learned Along the Way}

I don’t like to give people advice, but here are a few things that I have learned along the way, working on year nineteen of sharing life with Tom.

Life is a process of becoming who you really are.  This is amazing,  and sharing it with another person is an incredible honor and joy.

Joining two lives in marriage is hard work The best thing about our marriage, I think, is that we have active, respectful, honest and loving communication. Keep talking!  Tell each other the truth in love. Say I’m sorry.  Be able to say I was wrong.

Forever is an amazing concept. If you believe that there is no “out,” then you can and will work through anything with God’s help. And don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help from others.

Pray for each other. Affirm each other.  Say what you like about one another out loud, because it matters.

Know that you cannot change the other person, so accept them unconditionally. 

Know that you should never stop growing and changing yourself—spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You have been given a partner that is right for you but not perfect.  You’re going to annoy the hell out of each other!  And you will sharpen one another, becoming better people, if you are willing to continually grow.

Respect one another’s family of origin, but hold it loosely and do not be imprisoned by it.  You can make any family culture that you choose. You are not bound by the family you came from but you will bring all of that into your marriage.  This too must be valued and understood.

Keep your own interests, friends, avocations and vocation.  Your differences will make life more interesting. You don’t have to like or even enjoy everything that the other one does, but be willing to try new things together.  Anyone can change (their interests and what they enjoy doing!)

Cook together. Clean together. Divide chores by abilities and interests not by conventional gender rules.

Children will not solve any problems. 

Live within your means.  And do not go into debt to have vacations, toys, or anything physical except eventually a house. Take the Dave Ramsey course and stick with it!!!! Living within your means could be the most important thing you do together as a couple.

Experience God’s community with people further along in life, so that you can observe and learn as well as receive love and encouragement.

Remember the power of scripture to breathe hope, peace and healing into your lives.  

Always be patient and kind (in words and actions), not jealous.

Don’t be too proud to admit you are wrong.

Don’t rudely demand your own way.

If you are irritable, figure out why.

Don’t keep track of the wrongs, yours or theirs.

Celebrate and be happy when truth wins out.

Never give up on each other.

Never lose faith in one another.

Always be hopeful about your relationship.

May your love endure through every circumstance.

 {1 Corinthians 13:4-6 paraphrased by me.}

Like I said, advice is just words—there are no easy answers.  Every marriage is different, the challenges and joys that you will face will be as unique as the two of you.

Pray often. Stay in community.

With all my love,


July 30, 2012

Today I Said No

Today I said no.

I said no to something that might have been sweet and good, something that I would enjoy and that would make me feel good about myself – helping other people.  It was something that was even noble.  Can I be honest and tell you that I need some things to do that make me feel good about myself?  The recent Stations of the Cross exhibit, which I was a part of, was profound for me in that it was a thing that I did, for me.

Today I said no.

No because there are other good things, needs, jobs for me to do.  And I have to be careful as an addict, to not feed that need to help others.

Things are going on in my family, screaming out to me, which need resolution and clarity and my time.  My children are of the age that they need my daily prayer, daily.  My attention, fully.  My love and affirmations, honestly.  This takes the kind of attention that I haven’t had for them as of yet.  My widowed mother living alone needs more of my attention, care and to be blunt she needs errands accomplished.  My sisters each deserve my love and attention in a way that I haven’t ever had the courage to give them.  My marriage isn’t perfect; it has holes that need patching even though, after eighteen years together, we know it’s for life.  We’re in the boat together but we’ve sprung a few leaks.  No one’s sinking but we deserve to give the time that a good marriage requires.

So, today I said no – no to something good.  So that I could say yes to being a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife and more than anything I said yes to be a writer.

Today I said yes.

When my heart hurts, I wait. (a poem)

could be doing many things right now, my mother taught me that. 

should always comes to mind first. I could, gives breathing room. She had a lifetime of shoulds. She lived for every one. And lost herself.  And so, she sits now with her regrets. 

I could be cleaning, calling a friend, or washing up.  I could be playing the piano, or laughing with ‘Mel & Floyd’ on the radio. Even singing.  Or I could be digging outside. But here I sit, with sleepy Jaz by my side. I linger with my heavy thoughts  and the radio that is playing Chaka Khan. Now she is wild and so funky.  So unlike me. 

As the kitten stretches in the sunshine.  I sit and wait for the words.  For I have poem inside and when that happens, I have learned I can wait. It is not time wasted.  Rather, a moment of anticipation. So I go to the screen; the sacred chamber that collects my words and blows them softly  way from me. I sit, pondering hard things.

I could be a better lover. 

I am earnest and devout, but I lack fire. 

I could be a better mom.  I sometimes cave.  If you’re a parent, you know what I mean.

I could definitely be a better friend. 

And should,yes should, take better care of each precious one. 

You and I spoke late into the night of our love, desire and longings.  Of heartache. Of your loyalty.  Of my addictions.  And of God.  And, of other secret things. And in the moments, when my heart hurt so much as if I was being crushed from the inside out I could only hold on to our love. And know that for all the shoulds that sit there between us; unrequited. Honest disappointments.  Pure pain. Still.  It’s you and me.  And I know, even though our journey together is imperfect I am glad to walk this life’s path with you. 

There, it came.  The swirling thoughts are out. Not always what I want to say. Not always something I would choose to admit.  But always when and what is needed.  I suppose the thing I most love about you, is the that though we are imperfect I can wake after such a hard conversation with hope.

April 15, 2010
Marriage.  It’s an amazing thing and yet so difficult.  I don’t talk about my marriage much but I know that just like all the other things that I write about (childhood psychological abuse, addiction & recovery, motherhood, creativity, insecurities, spirituality & faith, disbelief) everyone has relationships and many people have hard marriages.  Mine isn’t difficult, funny enough.  Mine is amazing.  But we have our things and from time to time they raise their head up and demand attention.  I don’t think we should be afraid to talk about it.  Like everything it is delicate and precious.