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On Finding Love After Loss

Years after graduating from Northwestern, alums Annie Kuo and Matthew Becker found an unexpected connection.

Annie Kuo and Matt Becker stand side by side with their arms around each other, smiling.
Annie Kuo and Matthew Becker

By Annie Kuo
Fall 2023
1 Response

In November 2021 I was mini golfing at Flatstick Pub in Seattle with a group of young widowed people when I met Matthew Becker ’01. We were both widowed in recent years, in our 40s, with small children. As we went through the golf course, we talked about our late spouses (we were both married in 2004 and lost our spouses to heart disease and cancer, respectively), our families and surviving the holiday season. I mentioned a presentation that I had given the day before for an organization called Wild Grief about the healing power of grieving in nature, and when I got home that night, Matt emailed me. I sent him the slideshow presentation, and he wrote back with pictures of his family’s last trip together in the outdoors. We struck up a regular correspondence. 

We found out that we had both attended Northwestern on scholarships. Matt, an Evans Scholar from St. Charles, Ill., had graduated from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 2001. I was a LAGRANT Foundation Scholar, originally from Houston, who graduated from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 2008. We had both relocated with our late spouses to the Seattle area and built lives here.  

Matt and I became founding members of Club Wid, a local meetup group for widowed people. As new “widowed besties,” we talked about the topic of dating again — but avoided the topic of dating each other! When I joked that a matchmaking service would probably try to match us, he confessed that he was interested in me. We started dating in February 2022 and have been together ever since. 

We are grateful that we can both laugh (often uncontrollably!) and cry together. We are compatible in so many ways, and we find it amazing to carry the love we have for our late spouses with the new love we’ve found.  


Annie Kuo ’08 MS is associate director of marketing and communications at the University of Washington, where she has worked in the schools of medicine and law. She and her daughter live in Shoreline, Wash. 

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Reader Responses

  • I don't usually respond to stories on the internet, but your story touched me. I met my wife at Northwestern in an organic chemistry lab (we were lab partners) in 1969. We married in 1970 and both graduated with bachelor of science in chemical engineering degrees in 1972. Our planned family of two became three when the second pregnancy in 1976 was twins.
    In 1980, my wife entered medical school at the age of 30, and I worked full time and raised our three children as best I could. As my wife received her MD, she was diagnosed with cancer and died in August 1984. I was devastated.
    But like your story, I knew that I had to go forward, especially as a single father of three young children. I was blessed to work with an outstanding woman chemist who had recently been divorced. We found love again with each other and will celebrate 38 years of marriage this year. I also learned about grief and grief counseling during the winter of my loss, and I wish the best to you both.
    God bless and never lose hope.

    James Harper ’72 Hudson, Wis., via Northwestern Magazine

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