• Debra Lee May

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!


This is a picture of my mom, grandma, and me, in our backyard. When I look at it, I imagine so many different stories that I couldn't comprehend at that age.


My mom had just gone through a vicious and messy divorce back when divorce was still uncommon. She had grown up in a secure and traditional home where her mom had stayed home, and her dad was devoted to his family. The whole concept of what she went through was something she never expected to experience, and yet here she was raising three kids alone. Distraught and scared, she was looking for something and found yoga. My grandma had read that yoga would help her stay healthy and convinced her to try a class.


In yoga, she found some relief and so much more. In the next few years, she became a yoga & meditation teacher and taught at all the major universities, hospitals, and rec centers in our area. She even produced an album. Soon she added pranayama, or yoga breathing, taught to her by gurus from India who stayed at home and later became a Reiki healer.


There are so many sides to this story.


She held classes and retreats in our home, and as kids, we hated it! Also, the practice of yoga was so unusual in our conservative neighborhood that she often experienced ridicule and was even shunned by some. The truth is, ahead of her time, she helped pave the way for so many who came after her.


As a mom myself, I understand the feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty that she must have felt. I can also imagine how upset my grandma must have been for her. There's a saying that as mother's we're only as happy as our least happy child, and there's so much truth in that. I'm sure my grandma felt much of the same heaviness and overwhelm that my mom was feeling.


My mom taught yoga for over 40 years before becoming ill with hydrocephalus - a disease that attacked every area of her body, including the brain. As with most women, no one knows the stories you hold or the obstacles you overcame.


I was about ten years old in this picture and probably irritated that I had to stop and take it, never knowing how much I'd treasure it.


Happy Mother's Day to all women and their stories!




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