Suddenly Alone: Recovering From Divorce and Widowhood
According to Philomene Gates, author of ‘Suddenly Alone’, for people who have been recently widowed or divorced, plunging into a passion can help begin life alone. And this applies to any single man or woman who wants to achieve true happiness that does not come from without but from within.
My Muse, the late UK born Gordon Hindley was 77 yeas old when this article was written. I share it now because it has an important message for the divorced and the widowed.
Gordon is passionate about poetry. He has always been a poet, and since his wife of more than 53 years died two years ago, he has devoted his life to poetry. He has much to say about love and marriage in India, having lived in Bangalore for 55 years. Most importantly, he believes that poetic outpourings do not die as the poet gets older, they are merely covered up. The trick, he says is to keep these outpourings uncovered.
People Don't Want to Be Single
It took Gordon one year to recover physically from his wife’s death and another year to do so mentally. According to him, people don’t want to be single.
“In a young woman,” says Gordon, “being single is charming, but in an older woman, it is cantankerous. As people get older, they must be allowed to disentangle themselves from the pressures and conventions of society and that’s hard to do in this country. I think that in a relationship, unless the Indian male grows within, there is no hope. For the woman almost always does grow, and therefore she grows away from him. There is no give and take. And this state of affairs become habitual. People say that arranged marriages are more successful because one goes into them with less anticipation.
Marriage is a Funny Thing
Marriage is a funny thing. If the wife’s tolerance is not reciprocated by the husband, there is no hope and then there are extramarital affairs. That’s the only hope for the unhappily married woman. Look at Khajuraho – if something is inside and doesn’t come out, it might explode. And when an affair does happen there’s relief – “Thank goodness it can happen!” I’d like to have more friends, but not in number but in depth. Even if yours is a turbulent, marriage, if it is rich and abundant like mine was, you will not settle for less when it’s suddenly over. I don’t go looking for it. Maybe I would have if I had been 45 when my wife died … but I was 75 then. Do I want to go through the same pressures of getting to know someone? No. If it happens, it happens.”
On the other hand, it might never happen, says Gordon, and one must be ready for that too. He quotes the ancient Greek poet Aristophanes who said that the world is full of half people – one sex looking for its other half in the opposite sex. And if they ever meet, that’ll be the end of the world.
Poem On Shiva
The following poem by Gordon was inspired by one of the forms of Shiva –Ardhanarisvara that combines Shiva’s male energy with the female energy, creating the perfect mate we all long for but seldom meet.
Research deep into true love’s history
Reveals a God and Goddess; and these two,
Wholly dissimilar – as lovers do,
Sought to unite, in single ecstasy,
Their great love moved them, first in fantasy,
And then in flesh revealing to our view
One perfect deity serene and true…
No man explained to me this mystery.
What virtue had these Gods?—What virtue we
With eight limbs lying open in the grass
Those instruments of our discarded story?
Love does not lie there, struggling to be free,
And none may see us, ever, as they pass:
To love alone this power, and the glory