Stitch members Jeff and Leona have both experienced the loss of a loved one. Through Stitch, not only have they developed friendships with members across the world, they have found each other, and are now exploring how they can create a long-term, sustainable relationship, as they live over 1,000 miles apart!
Jeff and Leona share their story, written from each of their perspectives.
Jeff: “Stitch gave us a chance to get to know one another before we considered dating”
Leona and I met in December 2020 on a Stitch discussion board. I had discovered Stitch the previous September when searching the web for online bereavement groups, having recently lost my wife of 39 years.
Leona had been widowed a few years earlier. She has always lived in Long Island, NY, where I happened to have been born and raised. I now live 1300 miles away, in South Florida.
We continued writing to one another, moving from the discussion board to Stitch messaging, and then to texting. By the end of December, I invited Leona to one of my first Codenames events. A couple of weeks later, she became one of the first Codename “game runners,” as I expanded the event. We also attended several other events together, most notably Kew’s Optimists Unite meetings.
I had discovered Stitch the previous September when searching the web for online bereavement groups, having recently lost my wife of 39 years.Jeff, Stitch member
In March, Leona visited her brother and sister on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Though her family lives more than four hours from my house, I asked her to “promise to make time to see me should you ever find yourself in South Florida.”
A few days later, Leona asked if I would be interested in meeting her one evening while she was in Florida. Her sister had a friend located one town away from mine, and they were planning to spend a few days there. I was delighted and suggested we have dinner together — outdoor seating; Leona was fully vaccinated, while I had received one shot at that point. We then spent some time walking on the beach.
What could have been a single casual meeting between friends turned out to be more when I asked Leona if she would meet me somewhere to give us a chance to get to know each other better. She agreed.
Five days in Savannah, Georgia, were followed by a week on Long Island and a week in South Florida. We also have plans to visit family and friends in the Boston area and Upstate New York. Plans for a more sustainable arrangement — one without frequent travel and the boarding of pets — are in the works.
What could have been a single casual meeting between friends turned out to be more when I asked Leona if she would meet me somewhere to give us a chance to get to know each other better. She agreed.Jeff, Stitch member
Stitch gave us a chance to get to know one another before we considered dating, which is what separates Stitch from traditional dating sites. By participating in a discussion group and events together and becoming “pen pals” on Stitch messaging, we developed an attraction for one another and tested our general compatibility, all without any expectations. My thanks to Andrew and the Stitch crew for making that possible.
Leona: “We are working on making the distance between us a non-issue”
Last year, while watching 2ndAct.tv, a talk show hosted by two women about love and relationships in our later years, they introduced Andrew from Stitch as a guest. Andrew explained that Stitch’s mission was to connect persons over 50 years old to help combat loneliness. This was midway through the worldwide pandemic, and loneliness was certainly a concern for us all. So I joined Stitch in November 2020. At the time, I had been widowed 3 1/2 years prior when my husband died suddenly.
In Stitch, I found a trusted site where I could meet people as friends. I first started by participating in a discussion group for widows and widowers, where I found the exchange to be open and honest. There were many people who just needed to share their losses with others who could relate. Another discussion group in which I participated was Dating After 50, hosted by Julia from Australia.
One person I met from the discussion groups was Jeff, from South Florida, who had been widowed earlier in 2020. He had just started a virtual activity called Codenames and invited me to participate. Through Codenames, I have met many people in the United States and internationally. Jeff also suggested that I might enjoy the Optimist Unite and Stoic Philosophies events, both organized by Kew, from the UK. Soon, I was enjoying connecting with people from all over the world.
Through these connections, Jeff and I discovered we had many common interests. We also both grew up on Long Island, in New York State. Our discussion and activity group messages graduated to personal messages on Stitch, and then to text messages and phone calls. Jeff then brought me on board as a Codenames “game runner.”
In Stitch, I found a trusted site where I could meet people as friends.Leona, Stitch member
I mentioned to Jeff that I would be traveling to the Gulf Coast of Florida in March. He sent me a text that read, “If you find yourself in South Florida, please promise me that you will take time to meet me.” My sister had a high school girlfriend whom she wanted to visit, and we planned a two-day trip to South Florida.
I let Jeff know of our plans, and we arranged to meet for dinner. We had a lovely dinner, and the conversation was effortless. He usually walked the beach in the evening, and so we decided to take that walk together. Both of us were confused about whether we were on a date, but by the end of the night, we had made more plans.
Since our first meeting in March, we have traveled to Savanah, Georgia; Long Island, New York; and South Florida. Another trip is planned for Massachusetts and Upstate, New York! We are working on making the distance between us a non-issue by spending more time together with each trip.
Both of us were confused about whether we were on a date, but by the end of the night, we had made more plans.Leona, Stitch member
Without Stitch, I doubt this connection would have started and grown to what it has become. Thank you, Andrew, for reaching and connecting the world, globally and locally.
Jeff and Leona join a growing list of Stitch members who have found love after joining the community. Read Richard and Anne’s story to discover how they took a gamble on the thousands of miles that separated them and found love in the process.