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iOldies Music Store Home > Artist Biographies > The Life Of Cynthia Lennon

The Life Of Cynthia Lennon

Handling Life and Age With Grace

Picture of Handling Life and Age With Grace

The Life of Cynthia Lennon

The Cynthia Lennon Story: Handling Life & Age with Grace

If you don't know by now, Cynthia Lennon, Beatles' superstar John Lennon's first wife, passed recently at the age of 75. Cynthia Lennon leaves behind her a complex legacy of love, devotion and inspiration that speaks to all of us on many levels. It isn't that Cynthia did anything earth shaking, but the life she led was full of ups and downs that were witnessed and immortalized in songs that served to shape our worlds. It pays to take a closer look at how her world shaped into one that was resilient, full of life, and carried her in comforting arms to the end. Cynthia Lennon is the embodiment of what we have all found to be true, the way to get through is to find a way to make it better.

A life in brief

Cynthia met John Lennon when they were both teenagers. He was a rising star, and she was a fan. They dated, she got pregnant – and due to the social constraints of the time, they were married. It was not a marriage that John Lennon wanted, or any of the other Beatles. They were on the brink of stardom as teen idols. No married man with a child makes a good teen idol, so Cynthia Lennon led a life of secrecy. John even played a gig on their wedding night. He was so unenthusiastic about the marriage and his son Julian that he often told him he was “born out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night.” They divorced soon after Cynthia Lennon caught him with Yoko Ono.

What many people don't know is that Cynthia Lennon went on to become a noted bedding and textile designer. She made a name for herself, but she also admitted that she did change her name back to Lennon as it made it easier for her to land contracts. She raised Julian, who had little contact with John until the late 70s. In honor of her life, Julian – a respected artist in his own right – released a musical tribute video.

To clear one thing up, Hey Jude, the song that helped so many of us get through life's hard times, was written for Julian by Paul McCartney to help him get through the bitter breakup. It is telling that until his own death John Lennon assumed it was written for him as permission from Paul to get a divorce. Julian is on record saying that even when John and Cynthia were married, Paul was more present as a father figure then the aloof and uninterested John.

How much of the Cynthia Lennon story is in your own?

If you take away the part about musical stardom and the greatest band in history – you are left with a story that many people share. A young couple, too young to know what they want, find themselves suddenly caring for a child and choices are made. In the 60s it was still expected that the wife take second place to the husband's career, and children were her responsibility only. That they got a divorce was something almost unheard of. In the late 60s, a divorce still caused turned heads.

Like many women, Cynthia Lennon did what she had to do to make sure that Julian had the best chances in life. She did well, forging a career for herself, remarrying and going on. Yet she also had to deal with the powerful emotions that must have been at play when John's girlfriend May Pang got him and Julian together in the 70s. It didn't help that the media made much of John and Julian, creating the belief in many that John was raising him. In all of this, Cynthia Lennon held to a graceful restraint. The celebrity circus with the media was just starting and she very easily could have landed on the cover of People magazine for revealing the truth about the relationship – but she kept focused on her life.

Why the words of “Hey, Jude” have always resonated

“Hey Jude, don’t make bad.

Take a sad song and make it better.

Remember let her into your heart.

Then you can start to make it better.”

You may not know the rest of the words, but you probably know these by heart. Even though you can now see and hear them through a child's perspective, knowing they were written for Julian, it is important that you realize how much they worked to get Cynthia Lennon through her life too. It is a simple idea. Take what is bad and make it better, but the only way to do that is to remain open to the people you love and who love you.

To love and be loved

All of life is about change. One of the hardest changes we face is growing old. We gain and lose relationships to illness, or just even growing apart – but no change is ever reason to stop. It is unfair to yourself to act like your past is a prison. Cynthia Lennon left a world that demanded she be hidden away when she divorced John, but she didn't then aim for the opposite – she built a life that was based in love.

What science knows about love

There have been many studies done on the strength of immune systems and life expectancy of those who are in love – they are stronger and better than those that are alone. Letting go of the past and learning to live in the today is essential to helping you stay healthy. You don't need to be married, but you do need to be with a community that loves you, and that you love back. Staying social, seeing friends, being willing to go out and strike a conversation with a stranger can help you stay younger, help control and relieve chronic pain, and help you to avoid depression.

We don't have the world's attention on us as we deal with our traumas and dramas the way Cynthia and Julian had, but we can learn from the gentle and gracious way they handled it. We can also learn from Paul McCartney. Sometimes the best way to help someone you see going through a difficult time is to make something beautiful that still acknowledges the pain. Cynthia Lennon may not be a name the Millennials know, but she marked the turning point for many baby boomers from their teenage years to adulthood. We remember Cynthia Lennon , and all she accomplished. Most importantly, we have learned from Cynthia Lennon’s example as well.

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