- Written by Tom Blake Tom Blake
In October, this paper featured an article about Chuck, 78, a Lancaster widower, who had lost his wife of 55 years.
Chuck refused to quit; he refused to give up hope. He wanted a companion, not for marriage, but to pal around with and possibly spend winters together in Florida.
He decided to enter the dating world. One step he took in seeking a mate was to contact me. I wrote the article about him.
Chuck recently sent an update on his dating efforts:
“Your article has attracted about 40 responses and kept me busy meeting very interesting people.
“Twenty percent of the responses were promising. A wonderful woman just spent a day with me; I was her first date in over 10 years since her husband died.
“She reread your 50plus LIFE article over 25 times before she shared her thoughts with another couple. They emailed me that I should expect a telephone call from a very wonderful woman who they thought was made for me. They spent $25 to check my criminal record and what they could find about me on the internet.
“It is going to be difficult settling in with just one woman because a solid relationship takes time to build.
“There are some very expensive dating services out there that have had mixed success. The inexpensive dating websites have worked for many people. I just don’t feel comfortable with them and most seniors don’t either.
“I am impressed by so many wonderful women I have met (including three this week). Fifty-five years ago, I was dating three women and by a process of circumstances, I happened to marry a wonderful woman who turned out to be my best friend. I hope I am as lucky this time as well.
“Hope and time come before love in a relationship!”
And now, Melinda, a widow from Sonoma County, California, and her story. I met Melinda 11 years ago. She and her boyfriend, Dale, at the time lived two houses away from my mom, who was in her 90s.
They were so good to her, watching out for her, offering to help often and driving her places. I so appreciated their thoughtfulness. I lived 500 miles away, and it was a great relief to me that friendly, caring neighbors were keeping an eye on her.
At the time, I was writing a book titled, How 50 Couples Found Love After 50. Melinda and Dale met after age 50, while walking on a beach in Sonoma County. They later married.
I loved their story so much I included them in the 50 Couples book. When the book was published, I sent them an autographed copy.
After my mom passed away, I lost track of Dale and Melinda.
Last month, I received this heart-wrenching email from Melinda:
“I don’t know if you heard that Dale passed away this January. He developed a brain disease, CJD, that moved very quickly, so that by the time we had a diagnosis, he only lived 18 more days. Hospice was absolutely amazing.
“Then, this past month, our house (we bought it March 2016) burned in the fires here in Sonoma. I got out with my car, in my pajamas, slippers, phone, and wallet. Dale’s ashes scattered among the household items, the books he loved reading, our art collection.
“I was hoping you might still have copies of your How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book, in which Dale and I were included as one of the couples. The autographed copy you sent us burned along with everything else. Perhaps you could sign one again for me.
“And, if you get a good lead, I’m not too old to fall in love again. Dale would want me to.”
Melinda’s email shook me to my core. I did not know that Dale had died. And then, to top things off, in October, her home burned in the California fires.
And her very modest, humble request was for me to autograph another copy of the 50 Couples book. You can imagine how quickly I sent her an autographed copy.
But what Melinda wrote in her last sentence is the takeaway here. Within nine months, she experienced double adversity—losing her husband and her home—and yet, she is picking herself up and moving forward with her life. I will do my best to send her some dating leads.
Both Chuck the widower and Melinda the widow are inspirations to all seniors: No matter what life throws at us, there is always hope.
For dating information, previous articles, or to sign up for Tom’s complimentary, weekly e-newsletter, go to www.FindingLoveAfter50.com. To receive an autographed copy of his book at a 50plus LIFE reduced rate, email Tom at email@example.com for details.