Sally Birch Brown, 42, and her husband Richard, 43, met online in 2017 after they were widowed. They live in Hamilton, New Zealand
Six months after losing her husband, Delon, to cancer, Sally joined an online dating site to ease her loneliness. It wasnt long before she met Richard, who was also recently widowed. At first, we started talking on the phone in the evenings, says Sally. We were both going through the grieving process and it was comforting to talk to someone about the challenges.
Sally had two teenage girls and three older step-children; Richard also had three children. I was so lost when my wife, Dominique, died. I remember praying that something would change, Richard explains. Sally came into my life and it felt like it was meant to be.
The pair were living in different parts of New Zealand at the time, but after several weeks of phone calls, they decided to take the plunge and meet up.
I drove six hours to Hamilton from Wellington with my children to visit her, Richard recalls. We met up at a restaurant and I think we just knew straight away it was going to be something real. They had a similar sense of humour and lots of common interests, Sally says. Were both Christians and have the same values. Because we had both been married before, I feel as if we understood how important long-term relationships are and we knew what we wanted.
For the next few months, the couple spent their weekends driving across the country to see each other. Although they were anxious about their childrens feelings, the families bonded quickly. Its not been an easy journey and we know that our previous partners are irreplaceable, Sally says. But I believe its possible to find joy in life even when you are still grieving.
Richard says he loves Sallys straightforward nature. Humour helps us through the dark times and we always laugh together. For Sally, things just clicked when she met Richard. Hes so easy to be around and will do anything for me. I have to remind myself never to take that for granted.