Black couple weds after each lost first spouse during 20s: 'This could have been scripted for a Lifetime movie'
Jordan Rice and Jessica Moreland found love with each other after enduring the type of tragedy that could shatter one’s hope to ever love deeply again.
Now married, having tied the knot on June 22 of this year, the pair united after each partner had endured the loss of a mate — while each was in their twenties.
Rice, now a pastor in Harlem, and Moreland, a marketing manager formerly of Washington, D.C., had both been blissfully married to others when the strange hand of fate wrenched their first beloved spouses from their lives through sudden losses.
“Life after you lose a spouse is really difficult, as one could imagine,” Jessica said in a YouTube video about the unlikely kindling of her new marriage. “All of your hopes and dreams are kind of wrapped up in that person. You set forth, and you’re ready to take on life, and you assume that person is going to be a part of the story.”
But, her story with her first husband Jarronn would sadly end in tragedy.
Jessica’s story of loss
“I got married on May 15th, 2009 to Jarronn, and two-and-a-half months after we’d been married, he was out riding on his motorcycle, and he got into an accident, which caused several injuries and led to his death, so he passed away July 30th 2009,” Moreland continued in the video clip, which has garnered over 60,000 views.
Her new husband, Rice, experienced a startlingly parallel love narrative. His first wife, Danielle, died at 27 from a rare form of heart cancer a mere 10 months after her diagnosis. They had been married for about two years.
“I was miserable,” Jordan told ABCNews.com. “I felt out of place … a 27-year-old doesn’t die of cancer. It was very unfair and challenging on every front.”
The former lawyer, who is now a minister, told ABC he was skeptical that he would ever enjoy the depth of emotion he felt with his dearly departed wife again.
“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,” Jordan told the outlet.
Yet, it was the grieving process that Jessica Moreland shared on her blog One Day at a Time that helped the widower realize that there was someone out there who could understand the depth of his pain — but also love him back, not just commiserate.
How they got together
“One of the things that helped with Jordan and I being able to click so quickly is the fact that we could both be very vulnerable with each other so early on,” Jessica said in the YouTube video chronicling their love, “in a way that only people who’ve gone through what we’ve been through could understand.”
However, there were some obstacles to their eventual nuptials.
“Someone had sent me a link to Jessica’s blog after my wife died, but I didn’t click on it — I didn’t care,” Jordan initially said about Jessica’s method of public grieving. Yet, eventually Moreland’s social media presence, including her Facebook page, which indicated that the couple shared mutual friends, intrigued Jordan, and he reached out to her.
Jessica’s mutual friends with Jordan encouraged her to accept his overtures. Eventually they met in person in Washington, D.C.
“I can’t really say when or why during that conversation, but there was a period where I was looking at him, and I thought, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ I could not believe what was happening,” Jessica told ABC. “When he left, I was flabbergasted. I knew my life was about to turn upside down.” Jordan also knew from that first moment that she was “the one.”
After becoming a widow and widower while in their twenties, the couple was soon again to become man and wife.
An emotional wedding ceremony
Tears flowed as they married in Baltimore, in a ceremony that included the family members of the newlywed couple’s late spouses.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room, even the waiters,” said Moreland, who, now at the age of 30, goes by her new married name of Jessica Rice.
The couple, now on honeymoon, will reside in New York City.
“This story could have been scripted for a Lifetime movie,” Jordan’s best friend Justin Jones-Fosu told ABC News. “They are handsome, beautiful, intelligent, quirky — but their relationship is really awesome.”
“We’re extremely excited, and just very confident in what God has done in our lives in bringing us together,” Jessica said of her marriage to Jordan.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb.