After Losing His Wife & Child In An Accident…He Had No Hope Left.
I met my first wife when I was 19 years old. We were both sophomores in college. As I was leaving Medieval History and walking across campus to my next class, this beautiful, angelic girl with brunette hair a few strides ahead of me turns around and looks as if she wants to talk to me. Being a dorky, shy kid, this wasn’t an everyday occurence. I had definitely noticed her in class before. She asked me if I was in Medieval History, and if I had made any progress on a paper due the following week. I mumbled yes to the first question, and I somehow managed to piece together a couple sentences about the paper. We walked and conversed for about 10 minutes before going our separate ways. Like an idiot, I didn’t ask for her name or number.
Fortunately, a few weeks later, after 3 or 4 similar conversations after class, I finally worked up the nerve to ask her out. She quipped that she was starting to wonder if she’d have to make the first move. Our first date was a study date at the library–something that became routine for us the next 3 years. After the first study date, we agreed to watch our college football team play against a heated rival, the #1 ranked school in the nation at that time, on TV the next day (it was an away game). We won. As a huge sports fan, I had never enjoyed watching a game more in my life, but it was more because of who I watched it with. It was still relatively early and I didn’t want the evening to end, so I suggested we check out a movie at the theater downtown. She wanted to see some new movie called Home Alone. We laughed endlessly. Walking back to campus after the movie, we kissed. It was a perfect day.
After graduation, we both remained in the town we attended college and started our careers. At 26, we got married. We were a great match. I had never met someone so beautiful, smart, sweet, and compassionate. She made me a better student and a better person. I was a very shy and introverted kid, and she the extrovert really brought me out of my shell. She eventually got a tremendous job offer which would’ve been insane to turn down, and 3 years into our marriage we moved to a major metropolitan city near her hometown. 3 years after that, we had our son, and a few years after that, our daughter. My wife was such a great mother. Between a career she was really passionate about and being a mother, she was often stretched thin, but we all found a way to make it work.
Ten years ago yesterday, my wife and my daughter were tragically killed in a car accident. For the next 2-3 years, I was in a horrible state of depression and angry at the world. If not for my son, I think I would’ve contemplated suicide. I was going through the motions at work, to the point where my clients started to take notice. My employer, while pretty understanding initially of the trauma I went through, essentially told me a year later that I was performing poorly and if it were anybody else, I would be fired. Somehow I managed to pick it up (at one point I was seeing a grief counselor 3 times a week). After about 3 years, I knew things would never be the same, but there were a few breaks in clouds, so to speak.
Meanwhile, one of my wife’s best friends, a woman we knew in college and relocated to our city not long after we moved there, had invited me to join her and her friends to play Quizzo at a local bar. I was pretty much a recluse for 3 years, focusing on raising my son and my work, and my wife’s friend just wanted to see me have fun again. At first I declined, but she refused to take no for an answer.
On this night, I met about 4-5 friends of hers, including a work friend, and immediately the work friend and I hit it off. I never thought I’d meet anybody who was a bigger sports nut than me, but her sports fandom is intense. She does a lot of home brewing. She works in a field I really admire. And she’s really gorgeous. I liked her immediately. It was almost as if I suddenly wanted to live again. I started becoming a regular for these Quizzo outings, and as the weeks passed, she and I continued to bond over sports, beer, and movies, among other things. I had thought about whether we should start dating, but I didn’t know if I was ready.
She took the decision out of hands. A few months after we initially met, she had an extra ticket for an NBA game and asked if I wanted to join her. Of course, I accepted. After a thrilling victory by our hometown team, she invited me to do karaoke with some friends of hers downtown. For some reason, I did it. I never liked karaoke. But I had enough liquid courage on this evening to belt out a few songs. It was the most fun night I had in years. All the while, I couldn’t help but think what my first wife would think about me doing karaoke. She’d never believe it.
Our friendship continued to grow, if for unfortunate reasons. Her father passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. I had met him once. One evening we cried for a couple hours not only discussing her father’s death, but both of my losses. Other than my therapist, she was the only person I really opened up to and let my emotions take over.
We really didn’t go on dates per de. We attended a lot of sporting events together. We continued doing some Quizzo and karaoke. As attracted as we were to each other, we both undergone traumas and we agreed that we shouldn’t rush into things. As much as we enjoyed each other’s friendship though, we both caught feelings and we couldn’t just shut that sh*t off. She had completely rejuvenated my life.
After a few months “as a couple”, I introduced her to my son. My son is a huge NHL fan and they immediately bonded over that. The 3 of us went to an NHL game early in our relationship, and the way they interacted, I knew this was something special. She and my son talked for hours about Hockey, so much so that I might as well not have been there.
About a year later, we got married. My now-wife and son have had a great relationship the last 5 years. My son gave her an amazing gift on her last birthday that completely moved those of us who witnessed it to tears (check my prior posting history for details of this particular evening).
As I mentioned earlier, yesterday was 10 years to the day my first wife and daughter were killed. As time has passed, I’ve been coping a lot better and haven’t been nearly as depressed. But to this day 3 dates are still rough: the accident, my first wife’s birthday, and my daughter’s birthday. My wife sensed yesterday that I wasn’t well at all, and she knew why. I’ve been thinking non-stop lately how it’s now been 10 years. We both took personal days from work and talked about accident, something we’ve done many times before but not recently. I cried for the first time in quite a while about it. My current wife is my rock. I don’t know if a lot of women would be insecure in her position with a husband who’s still in some ways grieving for a wife. But she is one of the kindest and most patient people i’ve ever met. And you need those. She is not at all jealous or threatened of my previous life. In a lot of ways she is my hero. And she takes an active role in my son’s life and is the greatest step-mother I’ve ever known.