CHICAGO — Brynn Randall breaks down, recalling the ultimate days of her late husband Scott’s life. She describes him as a selfless man who beloved golf and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, and as a fighter, vowing to beat most cancers proper as much as his December 2018 dying at age 33 — weeks earlier than the start of the couple’s first and solely youngster, son Oliver.
As she wipes tears that mourn her late husband, she’s lovingly comforted by her new one.
And Charlie Whitmer has a particular understanding of the Randalls’ story. It’s strikingly just like his personal.
Charlie’s spouse, Kathryn, died in June 2018, 4 days after the start of the couple’s triplets following a stroke the week earlier than.
Charlie and Brynn, each 33, met via a mutual pal simply over a yr in the past, bonded over their losses and fell in love. They married just lately in a extra intimate wedding ceremony ceremony than anticipated, given the elevated unfold of the coronavirus.
Each mentioned it was a day of affection that they didn’t wish to postpone, and had been desirous to make their union official. They are saying they perceive one another in methods few others can.
Now they’re elevating their 4 1-year-olds collectively in a home full of affection, but additionally grief. They are saying there’s room for each.
“Love is probably the most highly effective emotion,” Charlie mentioned. “The love trumps every thing.”
Within the months after Kathryn died, Charlie would suppose to himself that he wasn’t going up to now for some time however hoped he would ultimately discover a new associate.
“I by no means meant, by no means needed to be alone for the remainder of my life.”
In February 2019, a mutual pal contacted Charlie, telling him the story of a lady whose husband had died simply weeks earlier than their son was born. The pal, understanding how related their tragic and uncommon tales had been, despatched Charlie a hyperlink to Brynn’s Instagram web page.
Charlie, touched by the kindness of others who had helped him after Kathryn’s dying, reached out to Brynn, simply to see if he might assist as a strategy to pay it ahead.
The 2 started sending one another messages. Brynn mentioned she was determined to search out somebody who might relate to dropping a partner so younger and elevating a child on her personal. “I needed somebody … I might speak in confidence to.”
After studying extra about one another, they had been shocked by the similarities. Not solely had been they widowed of their early 30s with younger youngsters, however each additionally had handled prolonged neonatal intensive care unit stays for his or her children. Oliver, now 14 months previous, spent 5 weeks within the hospital earlier than he got here dwelling. The now 20-month-old Whitmer triplets — daughter Arden and sons Bobby and J.P. (who’re additionally an identical twins) — had been within the NICU for greater than two months.
One other commonality? Brynn can also be an an identical twin. And each she and Charlie have overcome well being obstacles of their very own.
Charlie was identified in highschool with aplastic anemia, a situation that develops when the physique stops producing sufficient new blood cells. It reemerged simply earlier than he married Kathryn in 2016. He was capable of management it with remedy, however that required the Whitmers to make use of fertility therapies to start out their household.
And at age 27, Brynn was identified with breast most cancers, however solely after deciding to have a proactive, double mastectomy. Her mom had survived breast most cancers at a younger age, and due to that, Brynn was examined for and discovered she had a BRCA gene mutation, making it extra possible she would develop breast most cancers.
Throughout the operation, medical doctors positioned a small tumor — early stage breast most cancers. After chemotherapy, Brynn recovered.
A yr later, she met Scott Randall, a banker at Northern Belief who additionally was a most cancers survivor. Earlier than they met, he had been identified with and thought he had overwhelmed anaplastic astrocytoma, a type of mind tumor. However simply earlier than they married in summer time 2017, signs returned. Scott’s most cancers was again.
Brynn mentioned their whole marriage was spent combating most cancers, however they had been optimistic as a result of Scott had spent years in remission earlier than. Due to chemotherapy medicine, the Randalls additionally needed to depend on fertility therapies, and Brynn turned pregnant, initially due in March 2019.
Regardless of their optimistic outlook, Brynn mentioned Scott’s situation worsened. His tumor unfold and grew into glioblastoma, a deadlier type of a mind tumor. He died 4 days earlier than Christmas.
The household determined to carry a memorial service after the vacations. However quickly after Scott died, Brynn began exhibiting indicators of preeclampsia, a hypertension situation that’s harmful for pregnant ladies. She was hospitalized and couldn’t attend Scott’s funeral. As a substitute she watched a livestreamed model from her hospital mattress. Oliver was born 5 days later.
Within the early days of getting Oliver dwelling from the NICU, Brynn and Charlie started messaging on Instagram and ultimately met for espresso. Brynn mentioned she wasn’t viewing her new pal as a relationship that might flip romantic. As a substitute, she noticed it as speaking with somebody who was already on a journey she had simply begun. Apart from their shared challenges, that they had different issues in widespread, like being Christians and their love of golf.
“It was nearly like a weight lifted off my shoulders that I can speak to somebody who will get it,” she mentioned.
However Charlie’s emotions had been rising. After that first assembly after they discovered extra about one another, Charlie mentioned he realized these emotions, however didn’t share them as a result of Brynn had misplaced Scott so just lately and was adjusting to life at dwelling with a new child.
The 2 continued to textual content, name and spend time collectively over the subsequent few weeks, usually speaking for hours at a time. Throughout considered one of these talks, Brynn realized she had seen Charlie exterior the church on the day of Kathryn’s funeral whereas having brunch with Scott and his household— one other eerie coincidence for the religious couple.
After studying the date of Kathryn’s funeral from Charlie, Brynn pulled up a photograph she took that day on the brunch and it matched.
She texted Charlie to inform him. He had simply prayed to God, asking for an indication that he ought to inform Brynn about his emotions.
“My coronary heart was pounding out of my chest,” Charlie mentioned. He had gotten his signal.
The 2 organized to speak. Throughout the name, Charlie instructed Brynn, “I feel actually and figuratively that you simply’re the girl of my goals.”
“I used to be shocked he was that ahead,” Brynn mentioned, however she continued to speak with Charlie for an hour.
Once they ultimately noticed one another once more, each acknowledged their connection, and the connection progressed rapidly after that. Charlie proposed final August.
They honor Kathryn and Scott with photographs across the dwelling, and level them out to the youngsters. Whereas the youngsters name Brynn and Charlie “Mama and Dada,” the couple mentioned they discuss with Kathryn and Scott as “Angel Mommy and Angel Daddy.”
They mentioned it’s been difficult mixing all of the prolonged households — particularly as they grieve — however the couple additionally contemplate it a “blessing” to have so many individuals of their children’ lives who love them.
Charlie and Brynn mentioned they really feel fortunate to have discovered one another.
“We will join on so many ranges,” Brynn mentioned. “In that sense, I do know we’re alleged to be collectively.”