Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: A New Generation of Widows

I am beyond thrilled to welcome back Anna Mahler, The MommyPadawan, as a contributor to Wednesday’s Woman.  Because Anna is so passionate about creating awareness of the positive impact women are currently having on our world, I am excited to announce that she will be here on a monthly basis.  I am grateful for Anna’s willingness to take time out of her very full life as a wife, mother, and blogger to commit to sharing her passion for inspiring others regularly at Sperk*.

Anna is not only passionate, but she is also supportive and empathic, which is apparent in the comments she leaves for others around the blogosphere.  The scope of her support is broad and available to any who are willing to receive it.  For proof, check out her Twitter feed.  Being sincerely compassionate requires courage, which Anna definitely possesses.  Recently, she intrepidly posted her own story, I Have My Reasons, to summon support for National Child Abuse Awareness Month

Evidence of her far-reaching compassion is present as she brings attention to the plight of the military widow in her thoughtful story about Taryn Davis, founder of American Widow Project.  I agree with Anna whole-heartedly when she states:
"Sharing your story and feelings while hearing from others and connecting with women who understand what you are going through . . . having this kind of connection and support can also help you heal."
The above echoes the reason I value Sperk*, Wednesday’s Woman, and Anna herself.  

 Wednesday's Woman: Taryn Davis
by Anna Mahler

It always strikes me, how young most of the people are when I see anything on the news talking about our service men and women.  I often wonder if we really understand the extent of what they see and experience and how much support they need and fully deserve.
Taryn Davis, photo via AWP
Each time I have seen news reports of the loss of a hometown's military serviceman, I feel sadness for the parents who have outlived their own child, I think about the loss of one with so much left to do in life and the tragedies and unfairness of war. But I admit, one thing I don't always think about are the widows. So many young service men are also married and end up leaving behind very young wives, often with small children, to grieve for them.

This was the experience for Taryn Davis. She was 21 years old when her husband was killed in Iraq four years ago. Devastated and grieving, Taryn felt even more alone when looking for emotional support and other widows to connect with. Because of her age, she felt she didn't fit in with most existing widow groups and people around her either avoided the subject or acted as if someone so young would be able to bounce right back without understanding the depth of her pain. 

Knowing she could not be the only young war widow feeling this way and wanting to help and connect with others in her place, Taryn created The American Widow Project  in 2007 for other women around the country whose husbands have died in Iraq and Afghanistan: 
“While the service member’s sacrifice is acknowledged, many simply forget or fail to recognize the sacrifice of the spouse who is now left a widow of war. Often times the invisible wounds of military widows are disregarded due to age or a simple lack of knowledge and understanding.

The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter. Military Widow to Military Widow.”
What I really loved is how they describe the groups events:
“We do not hold seminars or have speakers, we have each other. The widows come together to enjoy life the way they did when their spouse was still alive. From surfing to zip-lining, we are here to enjoy each others company and share some of our fondest memories.”
The site also offers a list of blogs by other military widows, books and additional resources from grief support forums to suicide prevention information. 

Sharing your story and feelings while hearing from others and connecting with women who understand what you are going through is a great way to building this invaluable support system. I think when you lose someone you love, there is always a part of you that is missing but I believe having this kind of connection and support can also help you heal.

I love learning about women supporting women and this is a great example of just that. 

Read more about Taryn and The American Widow Project and watch the video below:

Follow The American Widow Project on Facebook and Twitter


  1. You are so kind Kim - I love working with you! Thank you for another awesome intro! I love the Wed Woman :)

  2. this is great. thank you so much for opening my eyes to this organization. I will look into...


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