Don & Keleko
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Married: January 23, 2010
I had been single for four years after a 22-year partnership that ended in a great friendship. Active in my church and the vestry there, and on the board of directors of several non-profit organizations, I was busier than when I’d been working fulltime, but Orange County, California, wasn't fitting me any longer. I surrounded myself with people who shared similar beliefs, but most everyone was in a partnership or married. I hadn't been to a bar since I’d been in my 30s, and when I’d go out for a drink with friends I was constantly hit on by single women. Flattering, but it made me uncomfortable.
My minister suggested Compatible Partners. I shrugged it off, believing that internet dating didn't work. But I followed his lead.
Keleko had lost his partner of 20 years to a massive heart attack and was just lost, living on Maui and in a very dark place, thinking no one would ever fill the void. Then one day he thought that he either had to finish it or move on. He found himself looking at Compatible Partners.
After great thought I realized if I was honest in my profile and used a photo that wasn't 10 years old, no harm could come from it. For four months I checked the site and found it interesting, but "Not in this lifetime" came to mind with most of the people I was paired with.
Then Keleko's profile appeared. Hmm. Handsome man. Too bad he lived so far away on Maui. But I read his profile and something attracted me beyond his looks.
We went through all the questions and answered them honestly. I remember once thinking, "Well, that response of mine will scare him off." But none did. We both felt the same on each topic.
We exchanged email addresses and soon were writing pages-- past experiences, what our days were like, our innermost feelings. Finally we started phoning. He’d wake up at 4 am to wake me at 6. He was the first person I’d speak with in the morning and the last before I went to sleep.
Suddenly we both realized we were happy for the first time in a long while. So I took a very short vacation to Maui. We had dinner at his favorite restaurant, and next morning he picked me up at my hotel for a tour of the island. Next day he joined me for breakfast and we spent the day snorkeling. Then he took me to the airport for my return.
Neither of us agrees just who dropped the bomb, but I was at church getting into my choir robe, and by the time we started our processional hymn we were engaged. I practically danced down that aisle.
In October I flew to Maui for an extended stay, returning home once to get my affairs in order. Cars to be shipped, furniture to be crated, etc. I was back by Christmas.
We were married January 23 in a traditional Hawaiian ceremony in our yard overlooking the Lana'i channel, under a huge tent with 125 people. The service, performed jointly by a Hawaiian Spiritual minister, a Hawaiian Chanter, and the minister who’d suggested Compatible Partners, was followed by a luau with a hula dancer blessing us.
The beauty of Compatible Partners is that by the time we met we already knew each other very well. As I said to Keleko in my wedding vows, "I have waited for you for 60 years. I can't believe that God has blessed us with this union. It was every bit worth the wait."
Aloha nui loa.