Fourteen years, then poof. That is how long my marriage lasted. It was a great shock. I really thought I would get married once and that would be it until the end. Technically, I have been married only once, but you understand my meaning. My wife was a multi-talented person. She spoke 4 languages, could cook and sew, worked full time for the Forest Service, and was a loving mother. At least until the kids were 6 and 8. Then she sort of fell apart. It got to the point where she could not be with both of them at the same time. One child at a time was possible. Her love of chanting took priority over all other yogi activities, like doing yoga, meditating, and doing things within the community. It turns out she really did not want to be married to an American.
Her spiritual name meant, Jewel of God, so it was not such a surprise to learn she was once engaged to an Arab prince. This inspired her to learn Arabic. He seemed to disappear and she never heard from him again. She also studied books about the Islamic culture including a book by Reshad Feild, who I would become friends with ten years later. At the time, I did not have an interest in the book she was reading, The Last Barrier. Reshad wrote on the essence of Sufi teachings, his stories were universally welcomed and recommended for spiritual seekers.
This remarkable woman who married me was a single child and although I grew up with two brothers, I have discovered some of my characteristics do come from my father, who was also a single child. Her family roots were from Poland so she also spoke this language. And one of my grandparents was from Poland. One story she told me was how her father built an airplane in their garage even though he had no pilot license and the plane could not get out through the door. Her dad was already dead when we met and her mother was full of judgment. But she was a good grandmother to her two grandkids for many years, long after her daughter stopped all contact with our two children.
Making babies were no problem. Both kids were natural deliveries, healthy, breastfed, nurtured, and each got to experience the special forty days after birth where the mother bonds with the new soul. She made wonderful clothes for the kids. Special little Sikh outfits, and a birthday cake in the shape of a lion.
It was like any relationship with highs and lows. Once in a fit, I pretended to strike my wife, knowing I could pull the blow before actually hitting her. What I did not count on what her fast reaction to lift her arm to block my movement. I broke her arm. She was very calm and understanding. I learned a terrible lesson. We never had much money so when it was time to remove the cast, we did this ourselves.
When we decided to leave the Miami ashram and explore other ashrams along the way, she was ready for the challenge even though she was two months pregnant. It was a great trip zig-zagging through the states, visiting many ashrams, sometimes sleeping in our van, almost running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, meeting many wonderful yogis, and seeing amazing scenery. We easily left behind the ashrams in Virginia, Washington DC, Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado on our way to the Espanola ashram in New Mexico. It was a yogi road-trip with great memories and the feeling of being free. Some years later, it crashed.
We operated mostly independently with both having separate jobs and for some time, even living apart due to her assignment with the Forest Service. She came home on weekends. We each took one trip in the summer to visit our children who were attending school in India. Then she left the Forest Service and came to work in my office. She became my assistant and a vital part of my business handling all the administrative and financial stuff. About one year later, she announced she decided to go to India for the next break the children have from school since the program was needing another person to help for a month. That might have been fine except for the fact she was leaving in two days and I had no one to replace her in my business. This was not a decision I was involved in and had no influence on her choice. It was done. I felt like being abandoned.
When she returned a month later, we were both distant from each other. Without any communication, she moved herself to the spare bedroom in the house. She had decided she was no longer interested in being married to me. To emphasize the point, she offered to rent the extra bedroom. I suggested it better she just move out. She moved a few houses away. Convenient for the kids to come and visit when they returned from India at the end of the school year. I became a single parent. I fed them, took them to school and other activities, and paid for all their needs. I managed with the help of my new assistant at work and many good friends. It was a time my kids and I did some great stuff together like overnight hiking in the mountains and attending a sweat lodge ceremony on new years eve.
Being more interested in a non-American husband, she remarried an Indian Sikh. This did not last long. For some strange reason, she married him on the exact same day as our anniversary, Even funnier was the fact that once she forgot our anniversary. That is usually the man’s job. She married once more to a younger Indian man who wanted children. So at age 50, she had twins, a boy, and a girl. The strong (or weak depending on your viewpoint) characteristic of her third husband was his insistence that she must stay loyal to her current family and therefore, not interact with her past family, as if they did not exist anymore. She wanted to please him and to be accepted in the Sikh community she was now a part of. It has now been twenty years since either of our kids has had any contact with her.
I have worked on my feelings for years to let go of the judgment I felt towards this woman who brought our kids into the world. I believe I could never cut off all communication with my own children. To be honest, there are still some negative feelings. I believe our kids deserve to be treated with greater respect.
Since the grandmother died a few years ago, the kids and I have not heard any news about their mother. Perhaps I can find the forgiveness within myself and finally let go of the last remaining negative feelings I have about her rejection of our children. I can imagine how it must feel, especially towards the end of life, to have missed being part of her children’s lives. It must feel terrible. I do not wish her to suffer such deep regret. We did manage to raise two wonderful, intelligent, kind, and loving children. I am proud of both our kids who are now over forty years of age. Being part of our children’s lives has been a huge gift I am deeply grateful to have experienced. I get to be a grandfather to my daughter’s two kids. What an amazing gift.