Broken Hearts Made Whole

Meet Russ and Melba — after both losing a spouse, they met 15 years ago at The WARM Place while attending our Grief Support Group, each with their two children. We want to share their story, which is filled with true sorrow and loss as well as genuine hope and healing.

1. Could you share a favorite memory while attending our program?
The first night that Melba and Russ remember each other at The WARM Place, Melba said, “I find myself worrying about fertilizer and fire ant killer.” Russ replied, “I find myself worrying about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

2. How could you encourage others who have lost a spouse?
Our encouragement is that it is possible to heal from the deep and agonizing sorrow of losing a spouse. It is not an easy path; but with the hard work of an intentional grief process, the loving support of family and friends and the eternal hope of faith in Christ, broken hearts can be made whole. Life is not the same as it was before; but it can be very, very good.

3. Tell us a little bit about you and your family. Russ and Melba, 2
2+2=4 and we have four kids, three girls and one boy! When we got married, they were 15, 13, 12 and 9. Today, they are 27, 25, 24, and 21. They live in Durham, NC; Knoxville, TN; Tianshui, China; and Vicksburg, MS. Russ is a professional in the field of manufacturing and travels frequently for work. Melba is happy to be at home. Together, we enjoy travel to faraway places. Our favorite destination is wherever the kids are!

4. How long have you lived in the DFW area?
When we met at The WARM Place, we had lived in the DFW area separately, Melba since 1990 and Russ since 1993. We moved to a suburb of Chicago in 2005 and just got back to DFW in the summer of 2013. We are thrilled to be here! We do not miss those Midwestern winters!

5. Since 2001, you have supported The WARM Place. What inspires you to continue giving?
People have a tendency to give to organizations that have a meaning or a purpose that is personal to them. The WARM Place provided a wonderful service to our families when we were badly broken. It was a place of healing and hope for us. It is our joy to give back to an organization that gave us so much.

Russ and Melba, 16. When you think of The WARM Place, what comes to mind
We remember something someone said at The WARM Place so many years ago. He said, “When we aren’t here, we get closed off to our grief. We come here every other week and we get cracked open.” When we were there, we got cracked open, and we were able to begin healing.

7. What do you wish other people knew about The WARM Place?
We wish that other people knew how it started, its purpose and how many lives it has touched over the years. We would also want people to know how far reaching is the network of The WARM Place and how it’s been a model for grief recovery all over America. The WARM Place is a place of hope and healing.

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