"I was married for 43 years... there wasn’t a lot of kissy, huggy stuff going on... no romance... [My current relationship] it’s a whirlwind," the woman shared.
It's 53 years that separate Almeda and Gary Hardwick's age. But there is absolutely nothing that can come in the way of the connection that the love-struck couple seems to have. "She really is my dream woman," Gary said about the woman who's now his wife.
He was 17 and she was 71 when the two of them met for the first time at the funeral of Almeda's eldest son. And that one fated meeting was enough for sparks to fly between the two.
"I’d noticed this young man with a lovely smile during the service and thought, ‘Wow, this is the one.’" Almeda said, as quoted by The Daily Telegraph. "He was on the other side of the church, but I kept looking over at him. It was like a bright light through the grief. Then, as I was walking to the door at the end, he came over and passed on his condolences. We didn’t have much time, but it was enough."
Gary felt the same way after they first met, saying, "It was an instant thing for me too. She had the most gorgeous, sparkling blue eyes."
Soon after that, they met for a second time when Gary's aunt, Lisa invited them both for a family meal. "He was just as I remembered," Almeda recalled. "That smile, those good looks. We were both too nervous to eat, and at one point he fell over his chair. I just came out with it and said to him, 'Look, I’m 71 and you’re 17. Am I too old for you?' He squeezed my hand, grinned, and replied: ‘Age is just a number'."
Later on that same night, Gary surprised her with red roses and a bracelet, a gift for her birthday that had passed a few days before their second meeting. "It made me feel like a teenager again," Almeda smiled and said about their first kiss.
Almeda did not stop to think twice when Gary proposed to her two weeks after their first date. Six days and $200 later, the two of them tied the knot.
Years after they took each other as husband and wife, they are still smitten by each other at the age of 21 and 74, as reported by The Sun.
"Four years ago on this very day, I gave my heart & my soul to the woman who steals it over and over again everyday. Until the day I met you I never knew that It was possible to love someone so deeply," Gary wrote in a post on Instagram. "My love for you goes beyond this world and deeper than the ocean. We've been through ups and downs together that we always overcame, looking back, it truly only made us stronger."
Although Almeda previously had a marriage that lasted for more than four decades, she thinks of Gary as her soulmate. The 74-year-old talked about how different her first marriage was from her second and said on her YouTube channel, "I was married for 43 years... there wasn’t a lot of kissy, huggy stuff going on... no romance... [My current relationship] it’s a whirlwind."
While Almeda found herself an affectionate husband, Gary is grateful to her for turning his life around and said, "She's my world, we have the most greatest times together always. I love you so much my love, always and forever."
They can only imagine their future with each other and Gary added, "I promise you to love you unconditionally and shower you with all the care and concern you desire until my last breath."