Couple get a second chance at love later in life
Feb 10, 2013 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Margaret and Dennis Thompson don't remember meeting.
But the St. Joseph couple do know that whenever it happened, they had no inkling how happily married they'd one day be to each other. They were, after all, both married to other people when Mr. Thompson began attending Woodson Chapel Christian Church -- where his now-wife also went -- in 1957. Then, several years ago, their spouses passed away.
"We'd known each other for 48 years and never thought about such a thing" as marrying, Mr. Thompson says. "But when the time was right, boy did we tumble."
It began three months after Mr. Thompson's first wife, Clete, died on April 16, 2005. He noticed his second wife-to-be sitting across the church sanctuary -- her eyes very sad, as she'd recently lost not only her husband but also her son -- and he decided to call and ask if she'd have dinner with him a couple of times a week. They both could use the companionship, he thought.
But what they got was much more than that, and much better than they'd bargained for.
"The night I called her, she didn't sleep a wink," Mr. Thompson says.
"I knew he was a good guy and a nice man," Mrs. Thompson adds, "and I knew I was lucky to get him."
Soon, they were spending all day, every day together, then talking by phone in the evenings. She felt like a teenager again. He was ready to go ring shopping. And when they married on Nov. 6, 2005, at Woodson Chapel, there was standing room only in the sanctuary.
"We put an invitation in the church bulletin, and when we walked in that day, we couldn't believe it," Mr. Thompson says. "It was wonderful so many people were so happy for us."
The couple had been concerned about the reaction they'd receive due to remarrying so soon after losing their first spouses, and they even felt a bit guilty themselves. But overwhelmingly, the response was one of happiness for them -- not only because they'd found happiness with each other but also because they'd both been dealt so much difficulty prior to that.
Mr. Thompson had cared for his first wife since 1965, when she'd undergone surgery for a brain tumor that left her with a changed personality and a host of medical problems. Mrs. Thompson had cared for a daughter, Denise, who was severely disabled by cerebral palsy and passed away at 13. And later, she cared for her first husband, Bob, through his fight with cancer. Around the same time he passed away, she lost Denise's twin brother, Dennis, in an accident.
"We feel like the Lord rewarded us for the care we gave our loved ones and put us together, and it was fantastic," Mr. Thompson says. "It's not that we didn't love our first spouses; we did. But this has just been special."
Now 81 and 80, respectively, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson can look back on connections they had throughout their lives without expecting -- prior to seven years ago -- that anything would come of them. He was born less than a year before her, and they both married their first spouses in 1951. Their children were in school together. Their families were in church together. And their first spouses passed away within five months of each other.
"There's so many coincidences, but they're not coincidences," Mr. Thompson says. "The Lord plans ahead."
They've made the most of the time they've had together so far. They honeymooned in Hawaii and, the following summer, visited 16 states and 13 national parks over a span of three weeks. Back at home, they enjoy simple things like shopping trips -- although not being much of a shopper, Mr. Thompson acts more as a chauffeur and notes that "I tell everyone I'm a real go-getter: I leave her and then I go and get her."
Their favorite thing, though, is just to be together. They have the luxury of a lot of time for this, now that their days of working and raising children are behind them. But they never tire of each other, and they're still waiting to have their first fight.
"We just enjoy every day," Mrs. Thompson says, to which Mr. Thompson adds: "Life is good. We both say this is the happiest we've ever been."
Erin Wisdom can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPWisdom.
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