The noted NFL insider recounts how he built a family with a 9/11 widow.
Schefter (editor: The Class of Football: Words of Hard-Earned Wisdom from Legends of the Gridiron, 2009, etc.) met his future wife, Sharri Maio, just as he was starting to heal from a period of illness that had left him questioning his life path. Driven and successful, the once-divorced, 39-year-old author had been desperately seeking—and not finding—“the perfect relationship.” His life changed forever when he decided to take a chance on a 9/11 widow and her young son. Their connection was immediate and profound—and complex. The first and most challenging complication was Sharri’s dead husband, Joe, a man beloved and admired by all who knew him. On their first date, Schefter learned that Joe was still an abiding presence in Sharri’s life and that he and Joe shared the same birthday. The second complication was Sharri’s son: “She needed somebody who had chemistry with her and Devon.” For the first time, Schefter was forced to consider the realities of a relationship and learn to accommodate a partner who “felt permanently tethered to [death].” Tentatively, the author made his way through this “new territory.” On the first 9/11 anniversary they experienced together and for every 9/11 afterward, he sent her flowers. Schefter also became close to Joe’s parents, who were still very much a part of Sharri’s life. Despite a series of personal problems, including a difficult pregnancy, that beset the pair after they married, they grew beyond their differences and bonded through illness and other family tragedies, including the suicide of Joe’s brother. Schefter’s book is affecting not only for the story it tells of how the author learned to honor his wife’s husband as “the fifth member of [his] family,” but also for how it shows a man growing into a mature understanding of the true meaning of love and sacrifice.
An unexpectedly moving memoir.