New York Times Portraits of Grief

Donald G. Havlish Jr.

As love stories go, the tale of Fiona and Donald G. Havlish Jr., well, it almost never happened.

While a mutual friend pleaded for months with Mrs. Havlish to meet her future husband, a senior vice president at Aon , she resisted, convinced, though she had never seen him, that the relationship would never work. "Guys do not like women with two kids," Mrs. Havlish told the friend.

But the friend persisted, cleverly arranging a meeting of the two at a corporate picnic. Mr. Havlish was the tall, dark-haired stranger with the quick laugh and the bouquet of spring flowers. "I just fell in love with his sense of humor," Mrs. Havlish said. Two months later, the two were engaged. They married a year and half later, on a beach in Bermuda, at sunset. Mrs. Havlish's children became his children, soon joined by a daughter of their own.

It is a story, one of many that Mrs. Havlish is saving for Michaela, 4, whose smile would send her 53-year-old father racing home to Yardley, Pa. "I tell her that Daddy is still watching over us, that he'll always love her."