Melissa Pierce: Sharing lessons from becoming a widow and single parent in her 40s
As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police. This is a continuation of the systemic racism pervasive in our country since its inception and we are committed to standing against racism in all its forms.
If you like what you hear or read, visit my Fertile Ground Communications page on Patreon and find out how you can support my work.
After launching my second podcast in April, Companies That Care, I’ve started alternating each week. This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Melissa Pierce, who I met through Rock Voices Portland, a 140-voice strong rock choir led by my friends Mark and Caley Barstow. Rock Voices’ theme is “healing through song,” which Melissa and I discuss on this podcast.
Melissa was faced with a huge crisis in her 40s: she lost her beloved husband unexpectedly and became a single mom in that moment. Now she dedicates her time to supporting other widows, providing the support and guidance she wished she had when she first became a widow.
Melissa grew up not too far from where I did in Tigard, Oregon. She met her husband Dave when they became roommates and then fell in love with each other. After experiencing infertility, they decided to foster children to adopt. They adopted their two sons, Brad and Bryce, and became a family.
When Dave got a great job opportunity to teach music in eastern Oregon, they moved to LaGrande. Melissa was able to work remotely and Dave began teaching in a nearby town. The boys settled in, and the family benefited from a tight-knit community that helped them raise their two sons.
One night after a dinner out with friends, Dave wasn’t feeling well. He went to bed early and suggested Melissa sleep on the couch so she wouldn’t catch whatever he had. In the morning, Melissa found him dead in their bed.
Suddenly thrown into widowhood in her 40s with two young sons to raise, Melissa experienced shock, despair, and depression, eventually finding she was seeking solace in alcohol. Even though their community in eastern Oregon rallied behind them in the aftermath of Dave’s death, Melissa decided to move back to Tigard to be closer to her family.
A year and a half later, she missed having a partner. She wrote down everything she wanted in a partner and sent her intention out into the world. Soon she met Sean, and he fulfilled 83 percent of her list. Listen to the podcast to hear their wonderful love story.
Melissa found great solace and healing in music and other forms of self-care. She sought out a way to sing again, since she and Dave used to sing together, and landed on Rock Voices, where she was delighted to befriend other widows.
Now Melissa’s sons are grown and she’s using what she has learned to help other widows. She is creating the resources she wished she had back in 2011. She has written a book about what she learned, Filled with Gold, and has a subscription box for widows. On her website you’ll also find a self-care guide for widows and another one that teaches you how to support widows in your life.
Next week on the Companies That Care podcast, I’m switching up my schedule a bit and featuring Lisa Schroeder, founder and owner of hometown favorite Mother’s Bistro and Bar here in Portland, Oregon. I’ve long been a huge fan of Mother’s and Lisa, and she has long used her restaurant space for causes she believes in. Mother’s has just reopened after closing down several months into the pandemic. I can’t wait to visit again and I can’t wait for you to hear this interview! The following week I’ll be back to Finding Fertile Ground.
The Finding Fertile Ground podcast is brought to you by Fertile Ground Communications. If you enjoyed this podcast, please give us a rating and subscribe to hear our next episode.
Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing. With 30 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, I am passionate about sustainability and corporate citizenship, equity & inclusion, businesses that use their power for good, and doing everything I can to create a kinder, more sustainable, and just world. We help organizations and people discover what makes them special and help them share that with the world.
Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.