Tragedy Leads to Love

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By: Dorothy Tibbe

Jim, A 66 year old widower, and Dorothy, a 58 year old widow, saw each other for the first time at a 1990 Valentine party for a newly formatted “Widows and Widowers” church. Dorothy was in charge of the activities and had planned the event. She was very busy keeping all 37 women and 2 men occupied with various games to get aquatinted with each other.

I am Dorothy, now 83 and a resident of Vista Spring Assisted Living. This is my love story.

I was alone 3 years; widowed after 37 years of a loving marriage. My life was very busy with family and many volunteer activities. I had a few blind dates, but no sparks flamed for any of them.

This church activity was one of my volunteer jobs. I had mailed about 150 invitations to form this new group. Two men were out-numbered by thirty seven women, but we had a fun evening of games, good food, laughter and drinks.

My phone number was on the invitation letter. Jim called to find out more about the party, and seemed very lonesome. He talked about a lady he was dating, about his dog, and many other interesting subjects.

I did not talk to any individual person at the Valentine’s party, so I really did not meet him personally. I just led the group in games and fun.

My Dad fell the following day and I went up north to help my Mom care for him. I told my Dad about the two men and thirty seven women, and Dad said, “You can handle those odds, Dorothy!”

Dad died at the end of March. Jim sent me a sympathy card at Dad’s passing and phoned frequently.

We both enjoyed our phone talks but really had not “met” yet. Jim was hospitalized with a blood clot in his leg, so I sent him a Get Well card and offered to get groceries for him if he needed help, but did not go to visit him.

I spent a lot of time up north with my Mom, but Jim would phone me whenever I returned home.

On June 21st, I had just returned home when the phone rang. Jim said he called me because he enjoyed talking to me and missed me when I wasn’t available by phone.

I replied, “How can you miss me? You do not even know me.” To which Jim responded, “I really like to talk to you and I miss you when I cannot reach you by phone.

I blurted out, “If you miss me so much we should go out and have coffer to get better aquatinted!” He kept on talking, when I stated, “Jim, I just asked you out on a date!”

He was very shocked and hesitated for a few moments, then asked, “You did?” I was laughing at his surprised voice and he said he would be over at 5:30 that evening to take me out to dinner.

Wow! Butterflies were in my tummy because I was so excited, but I really had no time to worry about it.

This was the first day of summer in 1990. Jim had his suburban freshly washed and came to the door with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. He was such a gentleman, opening doors and assisting me!

We went to Grand Haven for a nice dinner, then walked the boardwalk until time for the Musical Fountain on the waterfront. We enjoyed talking with each other in person even more than by phone and Jim tole me his wedding anniversary would be June 27th, a very sad day for him as his wife had only passed away a year and a half ago.

I told him it was also a very sad day for me as my husband had died 3 years ago on June 27.

We agreed to take the sad day and change it to a happy day by spending it together! We held hands after dark at the water and light show, but there were no hugs or a goodnight kiss.

The 27th of June was the turning point in our lives as we both had so much fun spending the entire day together. We went on a boat ride, a dune buggy ride, visited a museum, and spent time just walking around and talking. We ate ice cream cones, laughed and joked. We cried as memories of our sad times came to mind.

As we walked hand in hand, some kids yelled, “Go for it Grandpa and Grandma!” It was fun!

I invited Jim to go to a wedding with me the following Saturday night, but he said he couldn’t because he had a date. I thought I might not see him again.

That Sunday he came over to tell me he had told his “girlfriend” he would not be seeing her anymore because he found the woman he wanted to marry. Then Jim took my hand and said he wanted to show me a picture of his next wife. As he led me to the mirror he said, “What do you think of her?” We both shed tears and hugged and kissed with happiness!

eastern-floralOn August 15th, Jim asked me to sit on the couch. He knelt down and gave me a little white box which contained a beautiful ring! “Will you be my beautiful wife?” asked Jim. Salty tears once again! What a kind a gentle man.

My Dad had gone to heaven and asked the Lord to send me a husband to care for me, and the Lord chose a man so much like my Dad’s loving personality.

We were married September 29, 1990, just three months after our first date. Jim married into a ready-made family and we all love him!

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