She employed him as a caregiver for her household. They fell in love.

The day Wendy Sanhai met Mark Madar, romance was the farthest factor from both of their minds.

Sanhai’s husband had died just a few years earlier of a coronary heart assault, leaving her to boost her two sons as a single mom. Within the aftermath, she moved from Owings Mills, Md., to Cary, N.C., for a brand new job.

Not lengthy after they relocated, the household confronted one other disaster in 2014: Sanhai’s father had a stroke, sending her on a determined seek for a caregiver. Her job as a scientist was demanding, and Sanhai wanted somebody to are likely to her father — who moved in together with her household after the stroke — in addition to assist out together with her two sons, then 16 and 10.

“I used to be simply utterly and completely swamped; being a single mother, caring for an ailing father, having a really demanding job, organizing a brand-new home and serving to my sons and I settle into a brand new state,” Sanhai mentioned.

Her son had a writing tutor named Marianne who overheard Sanhai speaking about her want for assist round the home. Marianne mentioned that her older brother, Madar, was a lately retired widower who was very succesful however feeling considerably lonely and adrift. Marianne mentioned Madar is likely to be a superb match for the job.

“I used to be in search of a brand new course in life,” mentioned Madar, now 64.

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He had been married for 22 years earlier than dropping his spouse to mind most cancers. “I used to be fairly depressed after the passing of my first spouse,” Madar mentioned.

Madar taken care of his spouse when she was ailing, he mentioned, however aside from that, he had no skilled expertise being a caregiver. However he was intrigued by the chance.

“I made a decision this might be one thing I may do,” mentioned Madar, who labored as an govt at Verizon for 27 years, after spending six years within the Military.

Little did he know, although, that his caregiving function would set him on a brand new path.

“I actually wasn’t anticipating to discover a life companion after I took the job,” mentioned Madar, whose solely youngster, a daughter, had lately left for faculty on the time. “I used to be primarily in search of achievement by way of serving to others, to make my life extra significant.”

At first, his interactions with Sanhai have been purely skilled, and since she was usually tied up at work, their time collectively was restricted. They did, nonetheless, go grocery purchasing on a number of events, and Sanhai confirmed Madar the way to prepare dinner a few of her household’s favourite meals. They rapidly bonded.

“Early on, I did develop into occupied with maybe asking Wendy if she’d prefer to date or exit, however I used to be afraid if I have been to ask her out and he or she declined, it will be relatively uncomfortable for me to be round,” mentioned Madar, explaining that he was instantly taken by Sanhai’s robust values, and her dedication to her household. “We shared a number of pursuits, and a number of the identical viewpoints on life.”

As they acquired to know one another, they realized how a lot they’d in frequent: they’d each lived in Maryland — Sanhai in Owings Mills and Madar in Columbia — earlier than shifting to North Carolina, they’ve youngsters who’re the identical age and their spouses died inside days of one another.

“There have been so many hyperlinks between our lives that we have been utterly unaware of,” mentioned Sanhai, now 55. “It was arduous to miss the parallels.”

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Regardless of their putting similarities, Sanhai hadn’t seen that Madar was smitten together with her.

“I didn’t have time for any romantic preludes in my life,” she mentioned. “I didn’t even have time to eat most days.”

However she did discover that she started to really feel a keenness and admiration for him.

“I noticed qualities in him that I might need in a companion,” mentioned Sanhai, who labored on the Division of Well being and Human Providers for a decade, earlier than transitioning to the personal sector in 2011. “Despite the fact that we didn’t have a romantic relationship, there are components that you simply search for when it comes to the goodness in individuals.”

Their dynamic shifted one night when Sanhai’s sons and father had their very own plans, and Madar mustered up the braveness to ask Sanhai out to dinner. To his delight, she mentioned sure.

“We had a really good night collectively, and really rapidly, our platonic relationship was romantic emotions,” he mentioned. “It simply appeared pure.”

And so started their surprising love story. Madar proposed in June 2014, simply 4 months after they first met, they usually tied the knot in August of that yr in a marriage that blended their backgrounds. Madar is Lutheran and of Irish descent, and Sanhai is Hindu and of Indian descent.

“Our lives collectively show the potential for blended households to dwell fortunately, no matter their backgrounds, ethnicities and religions,” Sanhai mentioned.

Neither of them thought a second marriage was within the playing cards, however assembly each other at a seemingly inopportune time gave them a brand new perspective.

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“When challenges appear unsurmountable, when you’ve got an open thoughts and a optimistic perspective, someway issues will probably be supplied,” Sanhai mentioned. “Typically life simply throws loopy, disruptive, unbelievably life-altering adjustments. You need to cope with it with grace, and the religion that issues will probably be higher off.”

“I may by no means discover a higher girl than Wendy,” he mentioned.

Of their 9 years of marriage, the couple has overcome a number of hurdles, together with Sanhai’s father’s dying in 2017, in addition to her breast most cancers prognosis in 2019.

“Throughout all my surgical procedures, radiation and subsequent therapies, Mark supported me at each step,” mentioned Sanhai, who’s presently an govt at Deloitte, and can also be an affiliate professor at Duke College, and an schooling fellow on the College of Maryland.

The couple enjoys exercising collectively, spending time with their youngsters, in addition to touring. Principally, Madar mentioned, he merely appreciates “being together with her generally,” no matter what they’re doing. “She is my finest good friend.”

Sanhai hopes their story reinforces to others that “love can transcend life’s crises,” she mentioned. “Mr. Proper knocked on my door, and that has led me to the happiest time in my life.”

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