THE FIRE WITHIN MELanie
September 22, 2012 was the last day of my former self, and the first day of the woman I would become. Before this day, I was a mom of two young boys. I was a successful clinician. I was a wife to the most amazing, funny, selfless, and honest man I had ever known. I was 31 and life was just getting good. That night would be the last time my heart would ever be whole again. That night was the last time I was able to kiss my husband goodnight and tell him I loved him. It was the last night our two boys would ever cuddle in bed with him and feel his arms around their little bodies. At the age of 33, my husband Leon died in his sleep. At the age of 31, I was a widow. Seven days later, on the morning of his funeral, I would also discover that I was pregnant with our third child.
I can still feel the tightening of my throat from screaming so loud. I can still feel the burning of my eyes from crying until there were no tears left. I can still feel the emptiness in my heart and the deep level of sadness that I never knew even existed. I can remember the heaviness of the hopelessness that I felt for myself and my future. I can still feel the fury of my soul towards God. Was there even a God? What kind of God takes a husband and a daddy and then gives a widow another baby to raise? I was convinced there was no God.
The days, nights and weeks of the darkest sadness I had ever known made the minutes seem like hours. The loneliness was drowning me. People were all around me, yet I felt more alone by the second.
After a few months I was able to begin to process the fact that I was growing another human inside me. And through the darkness- the light slowly began to shine. Then it hit me- God knew exactly what he was doing. In a single moment- He spoke to me. He had given me this child as one last gift from my husband. This child growing inside me was saving all of us. This child inside me forced me to take care of myself. He forced me to live and to keep going. He gave us all something wonderful in our worst moments. This child would be named Noah- for the one who saved us from our storm.
There were too many weeks and months to count where I was certain my life was over. That happiness would be an emotion of the past. The thought of finding love again literally seemed impossible and something I wouldn’t ever consider. I had lost friendships because honestly hanging out with our couple friends hurt too much. I was so jealous of families who were whole. Social media was a constant reminder of everything my friends had that I no longer did.
Though my faith inGod was present, worshiping Him in church was unbearable. Instead of finding joy in knowing we would all be together again, my grief only allowed me to yearn for him here and kept the anger alive that Leon was taken from us.
I did believe though, that we would be together again. I believed because my husbands spirit was so strong that I literally received signs from him on a daily basis. These signs are what started to change my way of thinking. If my husband was present in our lives, it was my duty to live for us both. To start living in a way that honored him, kept his legacy alive. I now knew it was my purpose to use my tragedy to help others. It was then I started a non profit called Operation Lotus. Through the work of Operation Lotus. I began using my life to help others around me. It was then the new me began to grow- just like a Lotus- I began to grow even in the worst conditions.
I often meet other widows or people who have experienced great loss. They also ask me how I’ve made it this far. I don’t have the answers. What I tell them is that life is a choice. Every day we have a choice on how we can live. We can either pull the sheets over our heads and ignore the daily task of living- or we can use our life to change the people around us. We can use our sadness and turn it into something meaningful. I have chosen to live. I have chosen to try to teach my three boys that despite terrible things happening to us- we can make our world a better place. That tragedy doesn’t have to define us. In fact- we can become better for it.
Through this whole journey God has been by my side. I’ve been told He can handle our anger and our questions. I believe he can. He’s brought amazing things back into my life. He brought an incredible man into my life and I remarried in October of 2016. Though I fought love again, I know without a doubt this man was hand picked to hold me so tight, he put many pieces back together.
When I was asked to share my story, I thought “what do I want to say?” The last 7 years of my life could literally become a Nicholas Sparks novel. But I want anyone who is going through hardship to understand this! You get one shot at this life. God chooses the strongest to go through the hardest in hopes that you spread His goodness and teach others that you CAN survive and become an even better version of yourself.
At the end of my eulogy that I gave at Leon’s funeral, I read a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash.” In this poem she talks about we are all given two dates. The date we were born and the date we die. It’s up to to us how we live the Dash in between. That single poem has changed my life forever. It is my motto. My hope is that anyone reading this can know- life is worth living. Now go Live Your Dash!
Melanie Brockmeier Jordy
Melanie runs a support group on Facebook for widows and if you are interested you can find that here:
You can find out more about her non-profit, “Operation Lotus” here: