Jason and I definitely had some heavenly intervention that brought us together. I think one of the things I love best about our story is that when someone asks how we met, Jason’s face lights up and he says, “Ask Melissa, she tells it so much better than I do!” So here goes… It was the week of my wedding anniversary and my birthday. It was my first for both without my late husband, Steve. That year of ‘firsts’ is so unbelievably hard. I was not handling it well and that week felt like a wash of heart break and tears. I had picked up food to go for my boys and was sitting in my car in front of the restaurant sobbing. I started talking to Steve as I often do when I am utterly lost. I told him that I needed him to find a way to send me strength. That I so desperately needed his help. I didn’t want to go home and have my boys see me such a mess. Within seconds my phone rang. It was my son Nicholas (12). He was trying to whisper but as he is the loudest human being alive, his whisper is louder than most people's regular voice. "Mom, someone rang the doorbell. I didn't know who it was so I didn't answer. Now they are playing basketball in the driveway and I don't know where my knife is!" I assured him that generally speaking, people don't ring the doorbell, play basketball and then break into a house. That I was fairly confident that he was safe but I would head home. I pulled up to the house and saw a handful of adults watching two little boys playing basketball. I clicked my garage door opener and they got out of my way. I pulled into the garage and started unloading my car. A man came into the garage and started talking to me. I kept my back to him because I was a puffy-eyed snotty mess and I wanted exactly no one to see me. He apologized for using the basketball hoop. I told him that it was totally fine and they could play as long as they would like. I keep unloading my car and this man just kept talking to me. I told him we were moving in ten days and that he could buy the basketball hoop if he wanted to because I couldn't take it with me. I finally turned around. A big red-headed, bearded man in a wheelchair with the kindest eyes I had ever seen looked back at me and asked me why I was moving. I stood in my garage and stared at him for probably an impolite amount of time before I answered. He looked so much like my late husband that it sucked all of the air out of my lungs. How many big bearded red heads do you know? I took a deep breath and told him, "my sons are on an inter-district transfer to go to the middle school. My oldest starts high school next year and the high school doesn't take transfers. I lost my husband eight months ago. I can't make my son start over and make all new friends." Jason responded with, "You're the one!" I cocked my head. "My neighbor told me about you. I just live up the street, I lost my wife seven months ago." He told me something about just getting out of the hospital and that he was new to a wheelchair. I told him to take the basketball hoop. That if his boys would get off electronics and use it, then it was all theirs. He tried to insist on paying for it which I wouldn't accept. I gave him my card and told him to text me if he needed help getting it moved. I went inside to feed my kids. About ten minutes later he text me to tell me that I had packages on my front porch. We started texting about kids, grief and loss. He told me that he had been in the hospital for two months and had just gotten out a few hours before he rolled into my driveway. Our friendship fairly quickly became confusing. Neither of us had been looking to date anytime soon. It was the absolute farthest thing from my mind. How could I be falling in love with someone when I was still in love with my late husband? How can my heart possibly handle that? How did this happen? How is it possible? The amazing thing was that I could talk to Jason about Steve. I could tell him when I was missing Steve and he got it. He didn't squirm when I talked about Steve the way a lot of people did. We talked about life, loss, fears, and the hardest moments of our lives within the first few weeks of knowing each other. We talked about things that some couples that have been married ten years haven't shared with each other. I talked to my therapist. I told her that I wasn't planning on dating for years. That I wasn't shopping, I wasn't looking for this. She had the very best answer. She said, "You asked Steve to send you strength and help. He rolled an amazing gift into your driveway when you needed him the most. You don't get to say no to the gift because it doesn't follow some arbitrary time table you made up." She was so right. We waited to tell most people about our relationship because we knew no one would understand. We didn't understand so how in the world would anyone else? It became very apparent very quickly that this was it. That by some amazing divine twist of fate, we had found each other and that we knew what widows mean when they say, I found my chapter two. Jason and I both have experienced first hand that life is too short. Love and life can be taken from you in the blink of an eye. I think that played a role in how quickly we turned our lives upside down. We moved in with each other in a little over three months and were engaged in another three. Nine months after that we bought a house together and remodeled it. We needed a house with space for all six of us. So this is us and our crazy life. People ask us a lot why we are planning a big wedding. I can't tell you how many people say, "it isn't your first marriage, why not just elope?" Here's the thing. This second chance at happiness is something we want to celebrate. We know how truly lucky and blessed we are. Neither of us thought true love would be possible again. What better reason to celebrate? We are hoping you will join us on our wedding day. We are so excited to officially start our Chapter Two and we would love to have you by our side.