When Sharon lost her husband, she thought she’d never love again.
Here, Sharon Craik, 49, tells the story in her own words.
L￼ife’s too short, Shaz,’ my hubby Al insisted. ‘Don’t be on your own – go out and enjoy life.’
Why would I want to meet anyone else? I thought.
Married for 12 years, my big teddy bear of a husband and I had a beautiful life. He loved my three grown-up kids like they were his own. But now my Al was dying of stomach cancer. Just three months after diagnosis, he passed away aged 54.
At 46, I resigned myself to a life on my own. I’ll never love again, I thought. My son, Wade, 24, lived with me, but even so, without Al the house seemed empty.
Then, a fortnight after Al’s funeral, there was a rap on my front door. Cory! I thought, surprised.
A sweet young lad, Cory was only 19 and a talented singer who often performed at our local pub. His mum Jo was a customer at the corner store that Al and I owned.
‘I just wanted to check that you’re okay,’ Cory said.
Just then he spotted my mini-bus, which Al and I had run wildlife tours with, parked in the front yard. Since he’d passed, I hadn’t washed it once. That had always been Al’s job…
‘Do you want me to give it a clean?’ Cory asked. ‘I couldn’t ask you to do that!’ I replied. ‘Oh yes you can,’ Cory smiled.
True to his word, he returned that weekend. And we chatted non-stop. What are you doing? he texted one evening soon after. Just sitting at home, I typed back.
No sooner had I pressed send, Cory was knocking on my door again!
Like me, he loved country music, so we sat listening to our favourite tunes on the radio and talking for hours.
Soon, Cory’s visits became a nightly occurrence and I felt so lucky to have him as a friend. Even if he is 27 years younger! I thought.
Two months after losing Al, I had my first Christmas without him. The next day, Cory went camping with his mates for a week. So used to seeing him every day, it was weird to be without him. Suddenly, it hit me… I’m falling for Cory! He was still only 19. I was old enough to be his mother. What would people think? Besides, surely he couldn’t feel the same way about me.
It turns out, he missed me so much he got his friend to drop him at my place after their trip!
‘I couldn’t wait to see you,’ he smiled.‘I have feelings for you,’ I confessed, my heart beating out of my chest. Incredibly, Cory leaned in for a passionate kiss.
Three months later, on Anzac Day, Cory gave me a stunning gold commitment ring. Now it was time to share our happy news with our friends and family.
‘As long as he makes you happy, Mum,’ Wade said instantly. I’d been worried about my closest pals, Tracey, Sharon and Gayle and their hubbies. Al and I had been close with all three couples. What if they thought I’d moved on too fast? I wondered.
‘Al wouldn’t want you to be alone,’ Tracey said. Not everyone was so supportive, though.
When we were out and about, I’d hear whispers about Cory’s ‘intentions’. ‘He’s only after her money,’ people would snigger.
But that wasn’t true. When he moved in with me and Wade, he paid his way. Later, he took on extra hours at his job so I could work less. Then, out of the blue, Cory popped the question!
I didn’t want to make a fuss, but my fiancé wanted a big white wedding, so I let him take the reins and he planned our special day.
Last September, as Wade walked me down the aisle, Cory couldn’t take his eyes off me. And as we said ‘I do’ in front of our 100 guests, he even teared up!
At the reception, Wade made a speech to welcome his new step-dad to the family.
‘Now, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a big age gap between my mum and Cory, but I don’t care because age is only a number,’ my boy said.
For a split second, there was silence – then the entire room erupted in laughter.
‘You’ve changed him for the better,’ Cory’s dad, Brent, told me later. That meant the world to me.
Almost three years after the night Cory knocked on my door, we’ve just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. My mum, June, loves my hubby – she calls him more than she does me!
If people stare, Cory, now 22, wraps me up in his arms. ‘Stuff it!’ he grins, giving me a big kiss. ‘Let’s give them something to talk about!’
Recently, my heart played up and I had to go to hospital. ‘Your son’s here to see you,’ the nurse smiled, as Cory raced into the room. ‘No, that’s my husband,’ I laughed.
Still, a part of my heart will always be reserved for Al. Our wedding photo has pride of place in our home, next to mine and Cory’s.
My sweet hubby will even toast Al when we have a drink and together we put flowers on his grave. An old soul with a heart of gold, I’m just so glad we found each other.
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.