Tag Archives: divorce



I’m looking out at horses standing in the pasture.  No, they are not at the farm in Rocky Mount.  They are at my farm in Hillsborough.  I am going through a divorce, and they are the first group that has come to live with me.  Life is pretty crappy and hard right now, not just mentally but especially physically, but as I stand here, I am in awe of the beauty of it all.   The pasture slopes downhill and is surrounded by woods through which I can see more of my hay fields.  Despite the trials of daily life, I feel happy, blessed.

The next day, I catch the end of a Diane Rehm show about mindfulness and the power of thought.  The day after that I listen to the show in its entirety: an interview with Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor who writes about mindfulness in a new book.   She did a study years ago where she took a group of old men and isolated them for five days and turned back time.  They only watched movies from a certain era and basically lived as they had in the past.  When they emerged from the study, they were reinvigorated and stronger, with eyesight and hearing improved, and they looked younger.  It was the power of their minds that gave them that strength.  (I was also delighted to hear her describe this group as such old men that she actually wondered if they would make it through the five days, and here was the kicker: she said they were not like now, when 60 is the new 40.  Does that make me 45?)

horses in field

She also talked about how anger and despair can be so physically debilitating and how most of the things we struggle against aren’t true tragedies but merely inconveniences.  If we can bring ourselves to a neutral place, we will feel so much better and be able to see more clearly ways to handle our demons.   I have always been one to be thankful for dodging those bullets I didn’t even realize were there.   Maybe I dodged a bullet by leaving my husband.  No, make that a full speeding train, but that conversation is for another time.

I encourage everyone to hear Ellen Langer tell it herself.  Here is the link:



Beautiful Women over 50: Gwendie’s Postsecret


There’s a blog that’s getting lots of attention.  It’s called “postsecrets”  (http://www.postsecret.com).  People send in anonymous handmade postcards with a personal secret on the back.  Things like “I wish my life were exciting”, and “When you see me in public and I seem to be reading a book, I’m really eavesdropping on you”.  Some are darker, more intimate.  I’ve been thinking about sending in one myself.  One of the things that holds me back is that, unlike the postcard makers who get their submissions posted, I’m not the least little bit creative in the visual sense.  Check out the website to see what I mean.

But my secret, like most of the ones on the website, is one that possibly a lot of other people, especially women, share with me.  It is this: I don’t feel sorry for women whose husbands have died; I feel envious.

There, I’ve said it.  Another problem with this secret, unlike the ones on the website, is that it needs more explanation to make any sense.  And that won’t fit so easily on a postcard.

I have friends and relatives (sometimes these are the same people), men and women, whose marriage partner died, and they were devastated.  They grieved and cried and missed their mate fiercely.  They yearned to have him or her back.  Some of them really look forward to reuniting in heaven.  They feel awful, at least for awhile, sometimes for a long while.  But still I am envious.

Here’s why:  to feel that bad about the loss of a spouse, there must have been a lot of good things about the marriage.  Good times, good experiences, good feelings to be so acutely missed.  Even the good memories are bittersweet; they remind my friends of their depth of their loss.

I never had that.  So I am envious.

I would trade places in a heartbeat.