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Love After Loss: The Courage to Find Love After Widowhood (Ep #007)

May 05, 2020




Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be married for more than 50 years, become a widow, then have the courage to put yourself out there and find love again?


Well today is a very special day because I get to introduce you to Steve and Marie. A new couple who found love after loss in their late 70s. In today’s episode Steve and Marie share their love story and open up about their journey from grieving to finding love again.


Here’s a look inside my interview with Steve and Marie:

  • [03:52] After meeting Marie at the Elks Club, 3 years earlier, Steve got the courage to ask Marie out for a cup of coffee. Their love story starts here.
  • [06:15] Steve and Marie share the reactions of friends and family when they learned of Steve and Marie's romance.
  • [07:43] Mature love is different from young love; Steve and Marie share what it's like to find love at this stage of life.
  • [09:21] Each widowed after 50 or more years of marriage, Steve and Marie open up about how they knew they were ready to find love again.
  • [14:20] Steve has never written love letters before, all this changed when he met Marie. Steve reads a love letter he wrote for Marie.
  • [19:24] Steve and Marie reveal how their grieving process prepared them for a new relationship.
  • [24:49] Steve and Marie give advice to other older adults who may be on the fence about taking the first step to finding love again.
  • [28:12] Steve surprises Marie with a love letter he wrote the morning of the interview and reads it live.

By the end of this episode, you'll feel hopeful about the future, have tools for rebuilding your life (and love) after loss, and have the courage to take the first step. 

Click here to listen!


Love Letters from Steve and Marie


Tennyson said that “tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." If you have never experienced true love then you have never felt whole and complete. At least that is what I have found to be true in my 78 years. I'm not talking about family. Love for your family is built-in to the fabric of one's life. I'm talking about meeting someone, maybe someone who you have known casually, who, as they say, suddenly “rocks your world.” In my most recent encounters, the first being a three hour “getting to know you better” over coffee kind of thing and the second, a lunch date with her turned out to be for both of us, the beginning of an intense closeness that I haven't felt as far back as I can recall. I asked her just the other day what had happened between the two of us and she said that she honestly didn't know. I sure don't either! Maybe it's not important to know but to embrace and nurture the feelings that we have for one another. She is in my thoughts constantly, fueled by the way she holds her eyes when see looks at me or that smile that makes me feel so special. All I can tell you is that in just sixteen days, I have come to love this woman more than anyone could imagine. People on the street must notice the smile on my face sometimes and wonder what I'm thinking about. Or, maybe some of them just know! I hope of course, that we will be as one for ever. But if life comes along and somehow changes all of this, I will have known true love in its most perfect form. Oh, by the way, her name is Marie.      - Steve Shavkin


It's nearing the end of February and we are about eight weeks into the relationship. I'm not sure why but for some reason I equate it to a NASA mission. Why were we selected? Two people on a journey to places unknown. Lift off was on December 30th 2019. I remember it being a mixture of rain and snow that day as we peered out the capsule's small window. And suddenly, a hailstorm was upon us. Too aborting now. I took her hand in mine to reassure her that there was nothing to be afraid of. We were on this glorious adventure together. After almost two months, Earth is just a faint speck in the darkness. Like our lives back then. Each day that passes brings us closer to the realization that we will be as one forever. The bond between us is awesome. We can never know what each new day will bring but secure in knowing that it will be spectacular. Like the view from our little spacecraft.   - Steve Shavkin



To my soulmate, Steve

Your touch so gentle,

Your arms so strong,

And when they're around me,

That's where I belong!

You changed my world,

My dream come true,

My heart and soul,

I give to you.

I thank you dear for being you!

Your whispered words

in my ear, forever and ever

I will hold dear.

So hold me close

and hold me tight,

Your lips upon mine,

Our love so special and divine.

My love to you always and forever,




Steve and Marie at a Valentines dance on Feb. 15, 2020 at the local Elks Club.


Marie Ciafalo's Auto-Biography

My name is Marie Ciofalo.  I was born at Manhattan General Hospital, in Manhattan on August 4th, 1942.  I am 77 years old.  I have worked many years in the past at secretarial positions.  Currently working part time in a doctors office.  I was married for 50 years, just before my husband, Andrew, passed away in November, 2011.  We raised a daughter, Lori, and a son, Michael,  both whom I absolutely adore.  I also have four grandchildren,  three grandsons, Andrew 21, Steven 18, (Lori's boys} Michael Kevin 22, and a granddaughter., Danielle 24, (Michael's Children),  All of whom are my heart and soul. Of course, I cannot fail to mention my son in law, Doug, and my daughter in law Cheryl, who are both always in my heart.  I love piano music, but enjoy all types of music.  I also have knowledge of playing the piano.  I also love to dance.  And suddenly ….. my entire world changed, for which I am totally grateful.  I met someone who I will love and adore, for the rest of my life, and who will love and adore me for eternity!  I also thoroughly love being part of a special person's radio show, and world!


Steve Shavkin's Auto-biography

My name is Steve Shavkin. I was born at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan on July 13th, 1941. I am 78 years old and worked as a civil engineer for 40 years for the New York State Dept. of Transportation, retiring in 2000. My wife of 51 years, Diane, passed away in May of 2016. She was 72 at the time. We raised 2 beautiful daughters Jill, who is 53 and April 50. They are the lights of my life. I also have 2 grandsons Eric 17 and Adam 15. I have been an avid fisherman for most of my life. My fishing partner for 25 years, Bruce, and I spent 2 weeks for a number of years fishing the Outer Banks of North Carolina. When personal computers made their debut back in the early eighties I was hooked and am still fascinated by the things they can do. These days I spend my time working on my playlists for my radio show, “The Mostly Folk Show” at Vassar College which airs on Monday and Saturday mornings from 0630 till 0800. I play Folk Music along with some Country and an occasional Oldie. The college station is WVKR 91.3FM and streaming live on the WEB at WVKR.ORG. My show has been on the air for about 3 ½ years. And then...........about 4 months ago............something happened that changed my life completely............I fell head-over-heels in love!


Steve and Marie at Vassar College's radio station (WVKR 91.3FM and streaming live on the Web at WVKR.ORG) where Steve hosts the "Mostly Folk Show" on Saturday and Monday mornings from 0630 till 0800.



Links mentioned in this episode: 

To help you navigate grief and bereavement during COVID, I created a blog article that answers some of the most frequently asked questions I get about grief and I share online support resources for grief and bereavement learn more here:



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I'm Dr. Regina Koepp

I'm a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist and Gerontologist specializing with older adults and families! As founder and CEO of Gero Champions, LLC and the Psychology of Aging Podcast, my mission is to help mental health and senior care providers meet the mental health and sexual health needs of older adults using up to date, evidence-based, and culturally thoughtful care.


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