For years before we met, Ellen and I had assumed that a miracle relationship was out of our grasps. I had given up because I thought that my age would deter potential partners. I am 76 years old. At 65, Ellen was going through the trials of computer dating.
On April 10th of this year, Ellen asked our mutual friend, Robin, for my number. They’d been discussing Ellen’s online luck. Robin had offered to put Ellen in touch with me since in the past I’d met some nice women online. Ellen told her, “I don’t want to talk to her about dating, I want to ask her out.”
We FaceTimed that night. It was a totally sweet virtual encounter—lots of laughing and a comfort level I have rarely experienced. Then we FaceTimed for 37 days, 260 miles apart—me in Warwick, New York, Ellen in Silver Spring, Maryland. Thirty-seven days while I got my second covid-19 shot, plus two weeks for it to take full effect.
Who knew chemistry could happen on FaceTime? We met each other’s families on Zoom. We also had virtual cocktail hours to meet each other’s friends. My dear friend, Joanne, opened her introductory Zoom with Ellen by asking her, “What exactly are your intentions?”
Ellen wrote to Joanne the next day, assuring her that she intended to love me with “fierceness and bold abandon” and to meet any challenges with courage and compassion.
Joanne wrote back saying how intense this was for me and that “She doesn’t usually ‘bet the store.’” True. It was so intense because I have been much more guarded in previous relationships. I went slower, revealed less and waited for the other person to declare their feelings first. In this case, I jumped out front and went for it. I did bet the store. Part of it is age and the other part is four separate cancers that have taught me how to dance in the rain.
Two weeks after we met on Facetime, we’d reserved an Airbnb in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, our halfway point. We finally met in person there on May 18th.
We spent a loving week there getting to know one another. Many past lessons and personal work lined up as we grew together in tenderness and harmony. We had much in common. My grandparents emigrated from Latvia and Germany; hers were from Poland and Germany. We’d both had 30-year partnerships that ended a decade ago. We both love children. Ellen has two adult children; I could not have children and started an agency for children whose parents are critically ill.
Now we are highly equipped with phone chargers and all varieties of earphones. I winter in Puerto Vallarta and Ellen will visit for a month there next January. This summer, we’ll spend some weeks at each other’s home.
We happened fast. I think the pandemic has helped many of us realign our priorities and recognize the special from the ordinary. It has also given many of us new quantities of gratitude.
Our love is deep and powerful. Our combined 14 decades of experiences inform our belief that we are beshert.
When Barbara Draimin and Ellen Hedvah Weiser met, Ellen had recently retired from federal government media work. Barbara retired from social work in 2010. They both walk or hike almost every day, have meditation practices and swim and boat with glee. Barbara is a globetrotter who went around the world in 100 days for her own retirement present. Ellen has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Outdoor activity and nature nourish them both.