Donna Zirbes-Steinmetz and Craig Steinmetz of Lindenhurst renewed their wedding...

Donna Zirbes-Steinmetz and Craig Steinmetz of Lindenhurst renewed their wedding vows in 2014 on a beach in St. Maarten. Credit: Steinmetz family

Craig Steinmetz and Donna Zirbes-Steinmetz of Lindenhurst were given a second chance at love. Donna recalls how they met.

I lost my soul mate, my husband Joe, to cancer in May 2004. He was 49 and I was 44. We were married for 15 years and had bought our first house in Lindenhurst two years before his death. He added a front porch to the house for me. He was such a great guy.

While he was in hospice, he encouraged me to move on with my life and find someone else. That was easier said than done. I wanted him and nobody else. After his death, I would go to work, come home and stare at the ceiling.

Joe handled our banking, so I began meeting with one of the bankers at Astoria Bank in Babylon almost every day for two months. She was very helpful and sympathetic. One day she told me about a customer who had lost his wife in March. She said he was a very nice man and, like me, ran his own business. She asked if she could give him my telephone number. I said no, but over our next couple of meetings she gently persuaded me to pass along my beeper number.

Two weeks later, an unknown number appeared on my beeper. I called and Craig introduced himself as the man the banker had told me about. We talked for almost two hours, about his wife Cindy and about Joe and what we were going through. He was 51 and seemed to be a nice, caring person. Neither of us had children.

We spoke three more times before Craig asked about meeting for coffee. I agreed and we met at Borders Books in Farmingdale. Again, it was nice to talk to him. Afterward, he said it was up to me if I wanted to call him again.

I did call him and he asked me to dinner. We drove to the restaurant separately. We were taking small steps. It took a long time for us to get over the feeling that we were cheating on our spouses. We continued dating and, a year later, we realized we had fallen in love. Craig lived in the same neighborhood as I did and he later told me he remembered driving by the house on many occasions and seeing Joe working outside.

In 2012, I sold my house and moved into Craig’s house [in Lindenhurst]. Pictures of Cindy and Joe hang in our dining room.

We married on Nov. 21, 2013, nine years after we met, at the Town of Babylon Town Hall. In March 2014, we renewed our vows in a beautiful ceremony on a beach in St. Maarten, a place we’ve visited many times together.

In 2015, we celebrated our second anniversary and look forward to a long future together. I’ve been blessed and very thankful to have had two beautiful men in my life.

— With Virginia Dunleavy

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