Sister Wives? Woman marries sister’s husband to honour her final request

Nadine Bells
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

It could be a movie-of-the-week. Whether it’s a sappy tearjerker or a creepy drama is up for interpretation.

On her deathbed, 42-year-old Jackie DeVita asked one thing of her sister, Colleen Leary: that she would take care of the family she was leaving behind. Jackie then handed Colleen her wedding ring.

Three months after Jackie’s death, Colleen married Jackie’s widower, Richard DeVita, and moved into the DeVita’s 19,000-square-foot, $13.5 million ranch home to raise her sister’s three children.

“I know we have her blessing.” Colleen told MSNBC. She now wears her sister’s wedding ring.

The sisters were born just 50 weeks apart and were as inseparable as twins. When Jackie met her husband, Richard, both women were working in his dental office.

"From the time Jackie and Richard met, we were constantly together, the three of us," Colleen, who remained single, said. "We hung out every week at the beach. I wasn't dating or anything, so I was always the tag-along, but I loved it because I knew Richard and I loved Jackie."

[See also: How many kids make the happiest family?]

Colleen’s commitment to her sister’s kids kept her close by during and after Jackie’s battle with a brain tumour. After Jackie died, Colleen grew uncomfortable with the idea of living under the same roof as her brother-in-law as a single woman. So she accepted Richard’s hand in marriage — with the full blessing of her father.

Read the entire story here.

It’s not a conventional to-the-altar story, but it kept a family together. And Colleen claims that a love story grew out of the tragedy.

“I am happy. I loved this man as a boss, a brother-in-law, and now as a husband," Colleen said in the Associated Press article. "I always say to people, 'Was I in love with him? No. Do I love him now? Yes.' He's a good man.”

While some friends disapproved of the arrangement, Colleen claims that Jackie’s kids “were excited” to have their aunt become their step-mom.

Jezebel points out, “In other societies, people have been urged or even required to marry their dead spouse's sibling.”

Maybe Jackie did know best, despite her difficult-to-process last wishes.

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