Two months ago, I tied the knot again at age 71! Yes, Charlie and I walked down the aisle and exchanged wedding vows after being together in a loving relationship for eight years.

We’re both happy in this new chapter as a married couple. Charlie says I’m a blessing in his life, and I feel the same about him. I love my new husband a lot.

But I Also Love Tom

My late husband’s death 12 years ago devastated me. Back then, I said I wouldn’t love again, couldn’t do that. Tom had been my soulmate, best friend, lover, co-parent, and business partner – my all.

Like many couples, Tom and I vowed to be together always, no matter what. We stuck it out through the good times and a few not-so-great times over the years. We even promised each other to never ever marry anyone else! Then cancer crashed our party and took my Tom from me.

His Gift to Me: “Love Again”

A month before Tom died, he said, “I want you to forget those promises we made about never having another partner if something happened to one of us. After I’m gone, find a new love. Don’t live the rest of your life alone. You have so much to give. You need to love someone. Don’t be alone forever.”

I was dumbfounded. I didn’t want to hear his words. After decades together, I couldn’t imagine life without Tom. I knew I’d never love again. How could I?

I was certain I’d be content with a single life, enjoying my family, women friends, career, and other social groups. I didn’t want the gift of Tom’s advice for my future, or so I thought.

I was wrong.

And Then I Met Charlie

Four years into widowhood, after my intense grief had softened, I met Charlie online. He was a widower with a similar story to mine. Before his wife died from cancer, she advised him to remarry one day.

She didn’t want Charlie to be lonely. She even recommended a widowed friend of hers as a potential new spouse for him. But he didn’t follow her advice for many years, especially because he wasn’t attracted to that potential mate.

Charlie and I began dating cautiously, each respectful of our late spouses and those marriages. We cherished our companionship and the easy way we fit together. Even though we lived more than 1,300 miles apart, we balanced a long-distance romance well.

As a snowbird, my guy spent only four months in Florida. I traveled north to New York a few times in the summer for several years before I retired. After that, we moved in tandem between his northern house and my southern home.

Both in our 60s, we transitioned over time, taking many aspects of our lives into consideration including our adult children and grandchildren.

While Charlie and I grew closer, we encouraged our kids to come together as a family too. They joined us for several planned gatherings, coming from across the country. Over the years, my three sons and Charlie’s daughter bonded well, along with their partners and children.

Charlie and I also focused on financial and legal issues. We wanted to get that piece of our relationship right.

We had read the research that love in later life is often derailed by financial disagreements or withholding information. We discussed important money matters because open communication about everything was key to building a strong foundation for our relationship.

True Love Never Dies

Yes, I will always love my late husband Tom. That’s a very different love than my love for Charlie, my new husband. I will always be Tom’s widow. I am also Charlie’s wife. I am blessed to have the love of two wonderful men – each different and both precious to me.

You, too, may still treasure love from a spouse, relative, or friend who has passed. How is this connection important to you? Have you found someone to fill the void of a lost spouse or are you content going it alone? Please share your thoughts and let’s start the conversation.

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