December 7, 2023


On Bruce Linton Hager’s first date with Florence Leggett Buchanan in February 2018, he thought “every little thing was stacked towards us,” Mr. Hager stated. They met at Michael Jordan’s Steak Home NYC in Grand Central Terminal, which has since closed. “Eighties music was blasting out of the bar,” he stated. “There was a flash mob downstairs. We needed to virtually shout at one another, it was so loud.”

However within the midst of all of the noise, crowds and confusion, they discovered they’d one thing tragic in widespread: Each their moms had died by suicide 50 years in the past, six weeks aside.

The 2 had matched on Bumble that January, and Mr. Hager, 69, had all the time made a apply of pushing previous small discuss in hopes of discovering an actual reference to individuals he met over courting apps. So when he talked about over dinner that he had grown up in Greenwich, Conn., the place “issues hadn’t gone nicely,” Ms. Buchanan was listening. “Once I was 14, in July 1968, my mom took her personal life,” Mr. Hager advised her.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

Ms. Buchanan, 68, requested that he repeat what he had stated, although she had heard him. “I used to be so shocked I wanted to purchase myself just a few seconds,” she stated. Then she advised him that when she was 13 — in London, her hometown — her mom died by suicide in June 1968.

That night time, they left the restaurant with what Mr. Hager known as a “a chill of serendipity.” Ms. Buchanan felt a frisson of vitality, too. “We have been immediately linked,” she stated.

Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Hager reside within the monetary district in Manhattan. She works as a contract advertising and marketing director, inventive director and filmmaker. In July, Mr. Hager, who holds a bachelor’s diploma in English and philosophy from Connecticut School, retired from the accounting agency KPMG as a advertising and marketing director and not too long ago completed writing a novel concerning the 1987 inventory market crash.

Each are divorced. Ms. Buchanan’s first marriage resulted in 1985; the second in 2007. Mr. Hager’s first marriage resulted in 2006. Ms. Buchanan has two youngsters: Harrison Spelman, 30, and Octavia Spelman, 28. Mr. Hager’s son, Eric Hager, died final 12 months by suicide. He was 27. His daughter, Zoe Hager, is 25.

When the 2 first met, Mr. Hager was nonetheless dwelling in Montclair, N.J., the place his youngsters grew up. “All the way in which residence, I used to be pondering, that is unbelievable — to fulfill somebody who’s gone by the identical factor I skilled,” he stated. “I needed to know all about this particular person.”

On their subsequent few dates that winter, extra coincidences surfaced, together with a marriage they each attended within the ’90s with their spouses on the time. Two dates in, Ms. Buchanan began ignoring Bumble. In August 2019, she invited him to maneuver in.

“I used to be head over heels in love, we have been finishing one another’s sentences, and I understood that she needed to be in New York greater than I needed to be in Montclair,” Mr. Hager stated. He bought his home and a whole lot of his belongings. By the point the Covid-19 pandemic started, the couple had established their compatibility as life companions.

On Feb. 17, 2022, Mr. Hager proposed over espresso in mattress with a tourmaline Toi Et Moi ring. Ms. Buchanan’s acceptance wasn’t as easy as both of them would have appreciated. He thought the ring alone, with out uttering the phrases “will you marry me,” would sign his intention. She, not solely certain, needed to ask. His affirmation and her “sure” defused a worrying second for each of them.

They have been planning a marriage for 2022 when Eric died out of the blue in June. He was dwelling with roommates, together with Ms. Buchanan’s son, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “If you’re the son of a mom who has taken her personal life, you suppose you realize all of the indicators to search for,” Mr. Hager stated, including that Eric “was very closed” about his melancholy. Although Ms. Buchanan’s assist has carried him by his ongoing grief, final 12 months turned “a time to mourn, not a time to get married,” Mr. Hager stated.

The couple felt Eric’s absence keenly after they wed on Sept. 15 in an intimate ceremony led by Yanfang Chen, an officiant on the Manhattan Metropolis Clerk’s workplace. Mr. Spelman served as a witness; the couple’s daughters and Ms. Buchanan’s sister, Emily Buchanan, have been additionally current.

The next day, they celebrated with 90 family and friends at North Cove Marina in Manhattan, the place the couple and their youngsters — clad in work boots and life jackets — arrived on a working tugboat. Later, the entourage made its strategy to Le Bar on the French meals halls of Le District, the place the couple’s buddies bestowed three ceremonial blessings: one Catholic, one Jewish and one Deeksha (or oneness) blessing.

After the ultimate marriage ceremony toasts, the couple thanked their moms for the reward of one another. “We do credit score our moms for bringing us collectively,” Mr. Hager stated. In an afterlife each envision, Ms. Buchanan stated, “they’re in all probability clinking teacups.”

In case you are having ideas of suicide, name or textual content 988 to achieve the 988 Suicide and Disaster Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/assets for an inventory of extra assets.



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