Widowed in Their 20s, Couple Finds Love Again

Jordan Rice lost wife to cancer; Jessica Morelan's husband died in crash.

ByABC News
July 9, 2013, 10:20 AM

July 10, 2013— -- When Jordan Rice saw Jessica Moreland's wedding photo posted to her blog, "One Day at a Time," he was moved not only by her "raw, wild smile" but the tragedy she had endured.

Jessica's husband Jarronn was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2009, just two and a half months after their wedding.

Jordan, too, had been widowed in his 20s and also blogged. He lost his wife Danielle to a rare heart sarcoma in 2011, a little more than two years after they were married.

Mutual friends suggested Jordan, a lawyer turned New York City pastor, and Jessica, a marketing specialist from Washington, D.C., meet because both had shared overwhelming grief at such a young age.

"Jordan and I talked about this the first time we met -- never feeling like we could be excited about a person again," said Jessica, now 30.

"We knew we would meet someone, but it would never be the same, and nothing could reach the pinnacle that it was before."

But on June 22, they married in a simple ceremony in Baltimore that friends say even included the families of their late spouses and brought all to tears.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room, even the waiters," said the bride, who is now 30 and Jessica Rice.

"I liken it to being a parent," she told ABCNews.com. "You love a child to death, but when you have a second child, you don't love them less."

The couple left this week for a honeymoon in Italy, but the video of their story, which was shown at their wedding, has gone viral with nearly 18,000 views.

"This story could have been scripted for a Lifetime movie," said Jordan's best friend of 13 years, Justin Jones-Fosu, who is in theological school in Mississippi. "They are handsome, beautiful, intelligent, quirky -- but their relationship is really awesome.

"The fact that God could bring them together is almost too good to be true."

Jessica met her husband Jarronn in 2004 when they both worked at Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey. They married in 2009 and relocated to the Maryland area.

"We were everything I could imagine as soul mates," she said.

But just months after they married, Jarronn went on a short motorcycle ride with friends and ended up in intensive care, fighting for his life.

"His injuries were so serious that the blood had drained out of his body," said Jessica. "There was too much strain on his heart."

She was widowed for three years and dated others.

"One guy was great, but it was always really challenging for him to understand my history, and I think he really struggled with the idea that I could expand to love someone else," Jessica said.

Meanwhile, Jordan, now 31, who grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y., met Danielle, a math teacher, and married her in 2009. "For the first six months, it was marital bliss, very much the honeymoon phase," he said.

Soon she began to feel ill, and the couple thought she might be pregnant. An X-ray later revealed Danielle had fluid around her heart that appeared to be a virus.

"She started really getting worse very quickly," said Jordan. "Within four days, she couldn't walk anymore. Her resting heart rate was around 140 beats a minute -- lying down."

Surgeons removed the pressure from around Danielle's heart, but five days later, while sleeping in the hospital waiting room, Jordan was awakened to startling news: Danielle had a rare and deadly form of cancer, primary cardiac angiosarcoma. She died 10 months later.

"I was miserable," he said. "I felt out of place … a 27-year-old doesn't die of cancer. It was very unfair and challenging on every front."

Jordan eventually dated, but said, "I thought I might meet someone cool and nice and sweet, but I don't know if I would be madly in love with this person and feel deeply for them."

In 2012, Jordan's friends were in New York and mentioned a girl, "Jessica," who had also lost her spouse. Like Jordan, they said she was a blogger and had written about her experience.