We found love after tragedy

love after tragedy

by take-a-break |
Updated on

When these women lost the loves of their lives, it felt like the end of the world. But then they found another happy ever after…

I didn’t want to be alone forever

love after tragedy

I was just 20 years old when I said goodbye to playing the field, and hello to married life.

I’d met Kevin when we were teenagers and knew immediately he was my soul mate.

We settled down quickly, and were happily married for the next two decades.

But, to our shock, Kevin was diagnosed with skin cancer and shortly after, he passed away.

I was devastated and for the first time in my adult life, I was completely alone.

Kevin had always been by my side and I didn’t know how to operate in a world without him.

For a year, I was a shadow of myself, but then one day it clicked.

I was 40, and hopefully, I had more years ahead of me without Kevin than I’d had with him.

It was a heartbreaking realisation, but I knew I didn’t want to be alone forever.

I started dating and was shocked by how things had changed.

Love after loss

Dating apps and selfies baffled me, plus most men in my dating pool now had children of their own — one was even a grandfather!

After a string of failed dates, I realised things weren’t working.

I decided to spend time alone, focusing on myself.

When Kevin passed, my social circle was mostly couples who had known both of us.

Now, as a widow, I felt like I didn’t belong.

So, I went out of my way to make single friends and meet new people.

‘Do you want to go for a coffee?’ I asked my hairdresser, who I knew was single.

I also joined a gym and it felt good to meet new people who didn’t know I was recently bereaved.

Eventually, I met a man named Ian through work.

I needed some help with my garden, so I asked if he’d be willing to help out in exchange for a home-cooked meal.

He jumped at the chance and soon after we became a couple.

I was still close to Kevin’s family and worried what they might think, but I needn’t have been.

‘We just want you to be happy,’ his mum told me.

It was a relief.

It’s not a betrayal to find love after loss.

I still think about Kevin every day and keep pictures of us around the house, which Ian doesn’t mind at all.

Now, I run training for Edu-Therapy.uk to help others resolve their grief.

The heart has an infinite capacity for love and helping others realise that is so rewarding.

Carole Henderson, 57, Ellington, Cambridgeshire

From tragedy to Twins

Me with Jamie and our kids

Cooking dinner, I glanced at the time.

Where is he? I thought.

My husband Peter was late picking up his sons from football training, but as the minutes ticked on, I began to worry.

I got in touch with the boys’ coach and when he told me they’d left on time, I sprang into action.

I rang local hospitals until one confirmed my worst nightmare.

‘You need to get here straightaway,’ they told me.

I drove to the hospital and when I passed the scene of a car accident on the way, my stomach dropped.

I couldn’t see the cars involved but I just knew my husband and stepsons were involved.

Tragically, when I arrived at hospital I discovered Peter had passed away.

Thankfully the boys had escaped the wreck with minor injuries.

The grief was all-consuming.

We’d only been married four months earlier, and when our wedding photos arrived in the post one week after Peter’s death, I broke down.

I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with Peter, but now I was planning his funeral and trying to carry on running the business we owned together.

Thankfully, I had an amazing support system throughout this time, with my family and friends calling to check on me daily.

A year after Peter’s death, I began dating again.

But I just couldn’t find that special spark.

Love after tragedy

One evening, I decided to cut my losses and delete my Plenty of Fish account.

I glanced at my inbox before leaving and noticed a message from a man named Jamie who was a furniture designer.

I was in the process of redoing my home office and quickly tapped out a message asking if he could work on the project — before deleting my account.

I had no intention of dating Jamie but when he came over for a consultation we got on like a house on fire.

After chatting away for more than three hours, he packed up his tape measure and paused before heading out.

‘Would you like to go for a drink sometime?’ he asked shyly.

‘That sounds good, shall we go to the pub and watch the football?’ I said.

His eyes lit up!

Once I started dating Jamie, I began to feel like my old self again and our relationship blossomed.

We’ve now been married four years and been blessed with twins.

Our kids are 10 years old now and they have a close relationship with Peter’s sons.

I still run the business Peter and I founded along with my new business, NonToxicated!, an alcohol-free drinks app.

Life is chaotic running two companies while keeping up with the kids, but I’m finally content.

I’m grateful to have loved so deeply not once, but twice.

Lisa Godfrey, 53, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

'Fat chance! I'm done with men'

love after loss

When my husband of 20 years, James, passed away following a fall, I was shattered.

I thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together but instead I found myself a widow aged 47.

Luckily, I had a great support system, who helped me through the first flush of grief.

My dad and sister always checked in on me and friends took me out for dinner to keep me occupied.

One evening, a friend asked if I’d thought about getting back into dating.

‘Fat chance! I’m done with men,’ I declared.

I was still adjusting to being single again and just wasn’t interested in finding love.

Two years after James passed, I went on holiday to Ibiza with a friend.

One evening, we were out having drinks when a magician made his way to our table.

He was dressed in a smart shirt and had a cheeky glint in his eye.

He placed 10 cards in our hands and made three vanish with a wink.

‘Voilà!’ he said.

I didn’t know if it was the magic, the wine or the handsome man, but something drew us back to the same place the following night.

And as I stepped into the bar, I saw a familiar face.

It was the magician.

I found out his name was Dave and we exchanged numbers.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but Dave had charmed the pants off me and I thought: Why not?

When I arrived home we stayed in contact, exchanging the odd text, but the relationship wasn’t romantic as he lived in Ibiza and I was in the UK.

But when Dave told me he was moving back, we met up.

As we enjoyed a pub meal, the chemistry was better than I could have ever imagined.

Two years on from our first meeting, we moved in together and eventually he proposed.

We decided to see as much of the world as possible.

One summer we travelled to Las Vegas and found ourselves outside a wedding chapel.

I joked we should take a picture outside and pretend to friends and family that we’d tied the knot, but we actually ended up going through with it!

If you had told me five years ago that my life would be so full of joy, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I thought I’d sworn off men forever but Dave dealt me a different set of cards!

Andrea Rawson, 53, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Find professional support for bereavement at griefspecialists.net

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