What started as a terrible tragedy ended up being one of the most incredible stories I have ever seen.
When Ryan from Oklahoma and Jessica from Michigan lost their spouses to brain cancer in August of 2010, they didn’t really know where to turn. Their spouses had passed away only four days apart.
Both had been keeping blogs to help them get through their struggles, and someone, somewhere, had been reading both.
That person reached out to Jessica, and said, “There’s this man in Oklahoma who lost his wife four days after you lost your husband and I just think you could be encouraging to him.”
And so she left him a message on his own blog, offering to talk via email or phone, if he felt like it.
What she didn’t know, though, was that one of Ryan’s children came home asking about a “a new mom.” It caught him entirely off guard, because it had only been two months since she had passed.
But that night, when he prayed with his bereaved children, he said, “God, if that’s what I’m supposed to do, give me a sign, show me something… just prepare my heart for something like that.”
He got Jessica’s message the following morning.
The rest is history. They talked constantly, for hours at a time, and finally decided to meet that December. They chose Savannah, Georgia, because it was “neutral ground,” and a place both had always wanted to visit, though not necessarily under the conditions they anticipated.
There had been a connection in those phone calls and emails, and this “vacation” was meant to help them figure out what exactly was going on and what each of them wanted. There were no kids involved, no family, just the two of them.
“Both of us had really good marriages and thought, ‘I want to do this again.’ I knew very quickly, even in the conversations, that I wanted her to be my wife and spend time with her for the rest of my life,” Ryan said.
And so they got married in April 2011, and then it was a matter of figuring out who would move.
Jessica had a disabled son, Lucas, who attended a wonderful school already, and so Ryan moved his three kids to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to join Jessica and her four children.
Can you imagine seven kids, half of which aren’t your own? But the two made it work, and even adopted each other’s kids.
“The kids all just meshed as if they were brothers and sisters from day one. It’s just amazing how they just took to each other immediately,” Ryan said.
And to top it all off, they’re now a family of 10, having had their own child together in 2015. They moved to Tennessee in 2013 and live in 30 acres in a big country-style home, with enough room for their huge, happy family.
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