My Husband & I Got Engaged 3 Months After His Wife Died — & Neither of Us Are ‘Monsters’

When I saw today the news that Patton Oswalt had gotten engaged to actress Meredith Salengerjust 15 months after his wife of 10 years passed away, I hoped the Internet doubters and haters would for once keep to themselves. I could already hear what they’d angrily type into their keyboards: “Too soon, too fast!” they’d screech. “He sure didn’t waste any time,” they’d balk.

Well, of course he didn’t. Why can’t people see that this just makes sense? That when the universe throws you a curveball amidst your grief and delivers you a perfect second chance at love, my god, you TAKE IT.

I know this because I lived it — albeit from the other side. My husband and I had a whirlwind romance and got engaged just six weeks after we met — which happened to be just three months after his wife of nine years had passed away suddenly. Neither of us was actively seeking a serious long-term partner, but that’s what fate delivered -– and we’re both grateful for it.

We first exchanged a flurry of messages as I waited to board a cross-country flight after a visit with my sister, and within a couple of hours we found ourselves sharing incredibly intimate details about ourselves and our past marriages. I was five years out of a marriage that had spiraled into affectionless dysfunction before ending in an amicable divorce and shared custody of two children; he and his wife had similar struggles over the years, but his steadfast loyalty meant he committed to sticking things out regardless — and he stayed true to his vows until her death at age 39. Suddenly, he found himself alone with two cats and a lot of time on his hands to grieve and reflect on the good and bad of their marriage. I was fresh from a breakup with a long-term (post-divorce) boyfriend and was back on the online dating scene as a distraction, just like he was.


It quickly became apparent that what we had was *way* more than a mere “distraction.”

couple kissing

Courtesy of the author

This was it. After a week, I introduced him to my parents, who were just as smitten as I was. After two weeks, he met my kids, and my older son declared that my now husband is “who I DREAMED you would find, Mom.” By week six, he had asked my parents for their blessing, and even my two boys were asking us when we were getting hitched.


So, it happened — he asked me to marry him, and I said yes without hesitation.

One year later, we made it official and my dad married us in an intimate ceremony, the kids at our sides. And maybe this sounds crazy, but I kind of think that in some cosmic way, his wife “helped” bring us together from whatever lurks beyond this life. So many things had to happen justright for us to connect that it just felt like the strings were being pulled to make it happen.

  • Over the course of our relationship, we have committed to honoring the memory of his wife.

    couple kissing

    Courtesy of the author

    Last June, on what would have been her 40th birthday, we flew to Colorado to scatter her ashes in Rocky Mountain National Park, a favorite place of hers that they’d visited together. Under the bright blue sky, he cried and I held him, and we said goodbye — and thanked the universe for not following the “rules” so many people think applies to a timeline of grief, and for allowing us to be together in the moment that was right for us. 

    Written by Amanda Bergman on CafeMom