What May Means

As we near the end of May, I am sharing, with her permission, Andrea Furuli’s words about what May means to her. Originally published in the Hawaii Tribune Herald, Your Views, May 24, 2019.

As a child, I looked forward to May and especially to May 1 as Lei Day. This special day represented the long-anticipated (“sorta-kinda”) free day at school, celebrating Lei Day in Hawaii, when each class performed in front of their friends and families a special song or dance.

2015 photo from E.B. DeSilva Elementary School May Day Court

Back then, Waiakeawaena keiki celebrated May Day in Andrew’s Gym, followed by an afternoon at the field and classroom parties. Super simple, sweet and fun. Later, I enjoyed my own crew of Waiakeawaena keiki performing songs and dances at the civic auditorium, and always found it heartwarming to see a cluster of retired teachers present at May Day as guests.

Hilo High Graduation 2019

May also represents graduation season. It’s joyful to be able to experience and celebrate alongside graduates and their families such a meaningful milestone. “They made it, hooray!” To fellow parents: “WE MADE IT, hooray!” You can relate, right?

Let’s also take time to acknowledge and recognize in our own ways what the military means. With Memorial Day, I’m reminded of my own good fortune, made possible and reinforced by the sacrifices of countless individuals whom I will never know. Each year, I ask my kids to reach out to special peeps in our circles who’ve served. This year, I promised to do this myself.

I’d like to also offer another special meaning for this month that will soon be leaving only to return to us again in 2020. May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. It is a deeply symbolic time for my family and me. I’m compelled to share, simply to call attention to, increase awareness of, and to create a larger space for community and compassion.

So, whatever the month of May means to you, may it be enriching and provide you with an extra measure of something special to enjoy during the summer.

To our teachers, special thanks for the special May Day celebrations and for educating our children!

To our graduates, special congratulatory wishes for much joy, fulfillment and success to come.

To our friends, family and all those who serve in the military, gratitude from the depths of my spirit.

To our extended family of cancer survivors and caregivers, you are loved and oh-so appreciated!

All the best in May and beyond.


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