Csodálatos ember mese
I wasn’t expecting to fall in love again and get married at my age. I’m 95 and Bernard is 93. We first met as teenagers when we went to the same church group in Birmingham. He began dating my best friend Dorothy. In fact, I was a bridesmaid at their wedding in 1950, and less than two years later she lent me her wedding dress for my own wedding to David. It wasn’t long after the war had ended, and we got married on a shoestring. I was 29 then, and David and I ended up being married for 38 years. Which isn’t very long, is it?
Bernard says that when he proposed to Dorothy, it was touch and go whether he would ask her or me. I was second on the list. But I’m glad she said yes. It was right for both of us to marry who we did at that time, and have our own families.
David was only 62 when he died of lung cancer. I never thought of meeting anyone else. It took me a long time to find my own identity again. But, gradually, life opened up and I found my confidence.
Bernard and I met again at Dorothy’s funeral in March 2011. We’d all stayed friends over the years, and spent some good times together. I’d travelled a long way to be there that day. Dorothy was 91 and had been ill for a few years. It was wonderful to see him again, but only a few days earlier, Bernard had been in a bad car crash and I was upset at seeing him in a wheelchair. It was then that he confided in my son Rob that he’d always had a soft spot for me.
Bernard is very quiet; he thinks a lot before he speaks. He has a wicked sense of humour. I fought against my feelings for him for a long time after the funeral. I went on holiday to Orkney and thought, “I’m going to forget him”, but it didn’t work. I’m a tennis addict, so I tried to watch Wimbledon and forget about him that way, but that didn’t work, either. I knew I loved him, but I didn’t know how strongly he felt about me.
I thought, “I can’t tell him, it’s not protocol.” I thought he might tell me to get on my bike. But one evening in December 2015, I rang him and I went all round the mulberry bush trying to tell him, and in the end, he asked, “What is it you want to tell me? Tell me straight.” I was stuck in limbo, so I told him I loved him. He didn’t answer, and I didn’t hear from him for two days. Then he rang me and said, “I’ve just called to say I love you.” And that was it. I felt a huge sense of relief.
I was living with my son Rob at the time, in Oxfordshire, and Bernard lived in the Lake District, so we had a long-distance courtship and would speak to each other over the phone and listen to music together. I always looked forward to him calling. We also spent a few weekends together.
One day he rang and said, “I’m down on my knees.” I took that as a proposal. Because we’re both so immobile, I said, “Don’t you dare do that, you’ll never get up again.” I was a bit taken aback, but I knew it was right and that whatever happened in the future would be OK.
Experience: I rescued a woman from an oncoming train
My family wasn’t at all surprised when I said I was getting married. And this year I moved 300 miles to the Lake District to live with Bernard. It’s been a big learning curve, but I’m very happy.
We got married on 30 May in an Anglican church in Gosforth. It was a beautiful day. I was a bit apprehensive, but once I got to the church, I began to relax. Blue is my colour, so I wore a blue and cream outfit; I knew I didn’t want to wear a white dress. Bernard was in a wheelchair, and I had my three-wheeled walker, decorated with silk flowers, so we could keep them afterwards. My sons walked me down the aisle and my granddaughters were bridesmaids. And I asked a close friend of mine, whom I’ve known for 40 years, to be matron of honour. Bernard’s family and mine had never met before, but they all got on really well.
To find love again, and get married at 95 is totally unexpected. It’s been a little series of miracles, really. We like to think that Dorothy would be pleased for us. And to others in a similar position: if you’re sure it’s the right thing, just go for it. It’s never too late to find love again. • As told to Sophie Haydock
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