COBB COUNTY, Ga. -- The day I met Geri Levinson, I made a mental note to make an appointment for my husband with a cardiologist. But I knew a visit to the doctor is no guarantee that what happened to Geri and her family can't happen to me.
As we sat on her couch in her East Cobb home with Teddy the puppy curled up between us, she told me about her amazing and unexpected second chance. It happened after her divorce, when she met Doctor Michael Levinson.
He was a widow who had lost his wife to ovarian cancer and had three children. She had four children. At an age when people are preparing for the empty nest, Geri and Michael fell deeply, wildly in love. After a two year courtship, they joined their lives and their families.
During our time together, Geri told me how passionate Michael was -- about his children, about music, about her, about running. It sounded like he was the type of man for whom the spotlight was made - that parties weren't complete until he arrived, that all celebrations were made brighter and more festive with his presence.
Last September, after a run, with dinner waiting on the table, Geri asked Michael about his run and after telling her he felt 'kind of slow' that night, he collapsed. She performed CPR and their 13 year old frantically called 911, but it was too late. Michael was gone.
Three children who had already lost their mother had now lost their father. And Geri had lost the love of her life.
Her story and the incredible grace with which she told it, touched me deeply. I knew sitting in her Cobb County living room, that Michael's children would be okay because they were hers now.
Geri ran the Peachtree today, her first without Michael.
When I told her how sad I was that they didn't have more time together she said that she may not have had 'it' for very long, but at least she had 'it' -- a great and abiding love.
She considers herself grateful. We are grateful for meeting her.