The Wedding, the Ex-Wife and the Kids

Lately I’ve found myself– sometimes standing in the living room, sometimes during a walk, sometimes while reading, sometimes lying in bed late at night– I’ve found myself reflecting on the happiness of my life, the contentment I feel, and the fact that every single day I feel a deeper connection to and love for my husband. Does this come with age? With experience? With a spiritual (as opposed to romantic) understanding of love? With unconditional love?

A second chance. It can and does happen. We had it, and we took it. And we’ve never regretted it. There have been times of deep and grinding pain caused by my husband’s former wife and his children. There have been deaths in the families. There has been a serious illness that threatened to cripple. So we have known sadness and frustration and challenge. But we feel more connected, more loving and more supportive after each of these times than ever before.

I was in my fifties when we met; he was in his forties. A life well lived always leaves marks; not all baggage is heavy. But second love is more realistic, deeper, more aware of its rarity. It requires patience, forgiveness and tolerance. And acceptance of what cannot be changed.

Curiosity, I supposed, and nostalgia, no doubt, led me to read some of the e-mails between my friends and me when my husband and I first got together.  Here is one of them, from me to a friend of over 30 years.

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003
From: R K Silipo
To: “DuRand, Le Clanche”
Subject: From the wilds of suburban Surbiton

Dear Che,

Been ill the past few days with a mystery illness that required sleeping
all day,  moaning at intervals, then sleeping again. Feeling marginally better today,  going to hear Jill Purce, a healer who uses sound, speak tonight at the Siddha Ashram.

We’ve been going to satsang at the ashram on Saturday evenings. It’s very interesting how they have structured the satsang like a Protestant church service, presumably to make uptight English people more comfortable. It begins with chanting, has a little reading and talk, then more chanting, and finishes with food being passed around. One time it was home-made Turkish delight, another  chocolate brownies. Just small bites, but more body than the traditional Host. It’s a nice way to spend two hours, and the young (he looks like 15 to me, but is probably something between 30 and 40) leader of worship is very open and friendly, and a transparently sincere and earnest seeker.

On their altar, covered with beautiful silks, are pictures of their teachers, going back several generations, various Indian deities, Jesus, something vaguely Muslim (no graven images), ditto something Jewish– very ecumenical. In their garden there is a lovely BVM statue, not sentimental or prissy like so many of them are. I quite like her. Other holy people’s statues in the garden, as well.

Don’t know if I told you anything yet about the wedding. We kept it very small, so it was just I’s  father and step-mother (his mother died about 6 years ago) and sister, and my friends Rachel , Julian and his long-time woman friend. We wanted the children there, and they were looking forward to coming, but their mother had other ideas.

The ceremony was very sweet and very brief, about 10 minutes. The
registrar had a great sense of humour, so we were chuckling a lot. But
the actual words we said with such depth and in such a reality as I
have never known before.  We were in the registry office, but I definitely felt the movement of the Spirit shoot through me as we said our vows. It was pretty amazing.

Afterward we went for tea at a place called the Original Maids of Honour tea room, in Kew Road, directly across the road from one of the main entrances to Kew Gardens. The place has been there, in one form or another, since Henry VIII’s time, and ‘maids of honour’ are a pastry created  especially for the old libertine himself.  The current owner of the place inherited it from his father, who inherited from his father, and so on, since 1868.

The weather  was uncharacteristically sunny and warm for the afternoon. The goddesses and gods were smiling on us, I’m certain of it.

Things go well here. Got my passport stamped a few days after the
wedding, so I can work here;  so have been poring over ads and sending
out resumes. The only fly  in the ointment is, of course, I’s former
wife, who uses her children like clubs to try to manipulate him. The
only comfort I take is that someday they will be very angry with her
because she kept them from the wedding and is currently keeping them
from seeing him on any regular basis. She allows an hour here or there
on a Saturday .

The courts here are at least 25 years behind California courts, where they automatically would be granted joint custody, barring any verifiable reason that one parent should be in control. I see a court battle in the future, but not very soon. We must settle into a house big enough to have the children with us first.

Neither charm nor patience nor endurance has ever wrested power from those who hold it. — Frederick Douglass

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