Unhappy with This Example…I Learn From It…Now

This is not simply a woman I am unhappy with, but much more than that; it is the way this woman lived her life…It was a long earthly life, too and hurt felt not by herself but by the other people hurt by her behavior that she justified with her gently poisoned perspective.

Mary Haskell, b. Dec. 11, 1873, this photo is artist and author Kahlil Gibran’s portrait of her. They met in 1904 in Boston at an art event and over some time Kahlil proposed to marry her. She agreed, and then changed her mind, no problem; her feelings were that she was too old to be married to him, not an issue she doesn’t need a reason, but she believed someone greater, Kahlil’s true love was coming to him, and she herself would step out of the way for that.

But she was no John the Baptist and this was not about Jesus, and she disguised the damage she would do with convincing intentions when she really just wanted to be the reason that Kahlil was successful by offering to support his art financially and that he, this wonderful world-wide famous artist also loved her, all her!

She would make him cry and wipe his tears (literally) and wouldn’t be with him; she would string him up with ‘intimate friendship’, give him money and edit his English grammar and encourage him: ‘Come meet me in a dream…’, she’d write him in a letter mailed ‘harmlessly’ from Boston to New York City. She strung up his heart so she was always too much in his life to be truly sacrificial or concerned with his highest well-being, as she’d claimed.

He’d called her his ”angel” but she was repeating behavior similar to what writers like those of the bible may try to express of the concept of ’Satan’.

Twenty two years go by and in 1926, Mary Haskell marries a man named Jacob whose wife had just died. Meanwhile, Kahlil has kept May Ziadeh strung up in the same way, wanting her never-ending friendship and continuous letters, disregarding that she was a single woman and wished to marry him, drawing her portrait a couple of times and taking her letters to him (after she’d try to let him go and pause in between, he already knowing what she feels for him and finding that unimportant.) He’d take her reviews too of every book he wrote that he’d read and she’d publish in the Middle East, while he was living outwardly free, with plenty of fun in the States.

He, too, kept her as his ‘intimate friend’ while she’d formed a bond with him with such loving attention, and he would move in with a different woman in NYC in 1926 when Mary married Jacob. May would try to find her fulfillment in traveling to London and Italy but have to return home from the last country with feelings of fatigue and of mental and emotional hysteria.

Kahlil liked to sweet talk in his letters so gently and charmingly and ’harmlessly so’, but he really just wanted her there, not well.

These earth lives have ended but their decisions and habits can teach us a lesson. Kahlil died in 1931 and May’s parents died too around then; May seemed to want best to stay in her home or region of life in her life, in Lebanon or Cairo, as to support women there to be able to receive education and endure less suffering while still free to keep fashion or traditions that were true to their Eastern identity, and she worked towards the change, even if it was one greater than her own hands could achieve, or hers or a single personal lifetime.

But she had unnecessary great grief added to her life with the death of a man, Kahlil who was never truly honest with May or looking out for her wellness, and she was unable to break that bond of her love formed by herself. Her relatives in Lebanon sent her to a psychiatric hospital in Beirut against her will (the current hospital isn’t there now and I care not to know anything about it), so they could take her wealth, squash her ’feminist demonism’ and be done themselves with this lonely, crying woman.

The author Ameen Rihani, a friend of Kahlil’s and colleague, managed to put together a campaign convincing that she was sane and let her be free of that disastrous place. She left in January (sometime toward the end of her life), which was October 1941. Ameen had married a woman named Bertha Case who he’d met as an artist who was involved with Picasso and the Paris art scene; I had read just a single letter of his to Bertha in which he seemed to be convincing Bertha ‘to trust that he is doing good’ while he was away for such a long time, and I was not pleased with what I’d read of that.

In 1931 Kahlil died in New York City, a famous well-respected hero and with honor in his homeland Lebanon and a great fan fare funeral, leaving all his artwork and studio contents to long-living Mary Haskell who had all of a sudden married Jacob, while May Ziadeh was being driven into grief and depression mostly alone, unmarried and deceived for years, and with conniving relatives. But Kahlil’s life in general did good to help the country Lebanon overall and royalties from his books still support Lebanon along with the Gibran museum.

Ameen invited May into his uncommon, not so sturdy framework house in Lebanon after she was released from the mental asylum where she stayed two days to help her return to normalcy and then she bought her own house across the street, until her family invited her back to Egypt, only to fool her to go there to make a legal argument against her and take her wealth and estate. She died in her home in Cairo with encouraging words in her will—of her deep love for God and humanity (even during this injustice), unable to host her literary salons once her parents had died, with many of her literary colleagues leaving her side because if she was mentally ill they found it a fault of hers.

She herself seemed uncomfortable with any mental condition in herself as if it could be a fault inherent in her own self/soul too because of the ideology of ’sound soul/mind sound body sound overall’ that was convincing then, which we will find in later advancements to be not so simple and no so true.

So lesson learned, don’t trap anyone, love from a distance is more honorable than being in someone’s way, don’t thrive on someone’s love for you as elevating you as your hurt will render that unsatisfying in the end; not acknowledging you are hurting someone will maybe keep you living longer with more ease, but is that length really meaningful? Deception is often sweetened by deceitful language like this of Mary Haskell and Kahlil too. Mary happens to be a Sagittarius as they’ve been shared as artists and entertainers in recent posts on the blog but she could be anyone.

May Mary rest and move beyond this life knowing there were good choices in her life too and she and no one is paying for her damage on earth anymore. May I, and we, learn from lives past while knowing we ourselves are essentially free of everything as we currently live.

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