Life is what I am whole-hardheartedly, madly passionate about.
Unfortunately, that passion bloomed from the worst tragedy I could imagine. The tragedy of losing my husband, CPL Michael Davis, in Baghdad, Iraq on May 21, 2007.
We met in marching band, reconnected in college and married less than a year before he was deployed.
If I were to describe our relationship, I would say it was one in which we grew in ways we never knew imaginable. In love, as humans, into our truest and best selves.
Losing him felt as if I had lost myself, and in return, lost any hope of living a life I loved.
It really doesn't matter how much you read, what you are told, or what you see on TV...
The feeling is one no one could envision until it actually occurs.
I'd like to say that with time life became easier to grasp, but I noticed that its small sliver of hope was fading with each passing day.
My love for him. His sacrifice. Our memories. All minimized and written off due to our young age, people's political stances, and our culture’s fear of death and dying.
When I hit rock bottom, I thought of Michael;
How much he loved life, people, fulfilling dreams, and his hopes for the future. Yet here I was ready to throw in the towel.
It was then that I knew I had to live for him until I could find a reason to live for myself.
That reason would end up being my fellow military widows.
That reason would become my passion and my life's mission.
That reason has allowed me to live and create a life that I love and one in which I am able to empower, educate and inspire other men and women who know what it's like to lose the one you love more than yourself.
At the American Widow Project, we've held more than 40 national events, connected with more than 1,500 military widows and widowers, created unique and innovative programs that have spanned from skydiving to finding one's passion. We have created an organization that embodies many things:
Hope, Healing, Love, Legacies...But most importantly...
A life we never knew was possible in the face of tragedy, yet a life that continuously unveils itself in magnificent and inspiring ways.
I am more than the sum of my tragedy. I am more than a military widow. I am someone living fully who tries to show others not how to do the same but that their unique path and journey is waiting for them when they're ready.
A reminder that they can do more than merely exist.
A reminder that we all need to take into account no matter what our circumstances.
About Taryn Davis
When she was just 21, Taryn received devastating news: Her husband, CPL Michael Davis, had been killed in Baghdad, Iraq. While her family provided all the support they could, she still felt lost and alone. When her Google search for “widow” turned up the result: “Did you mean window?” she knew she had to take action. Taryn created the American Widow Project to provide vital resources to our Nation's Military Widows and Widowers. To date, the American Widow Project has served more than 1,500 widows using peer-to-peer empowerment and educational based retreats, virtual tools and more to unify these unsung heroes and survivors on the home front.