United In Grief

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 2:24pm

Woman who lost her husband in Iraq starts support network for other war widows.

From a new two room office in East Austin, Texas Taryn Davis connects with military widows across the country.

"It hurts to know that obviously they have a very long journey in front of them, but its exciting for me to know that I can provide them a resource that I didn't have," says Davis.

Davis understands their loss.

The words are burned in her mind.

"Secretary of defense regrets to inform you that your husband was killed," she recalls.

In May 2007 her husband Michael Davis died from a roadside bomb in Iraq.

"He was my best friend, he is still my best friend, soul mate. I feel very lucky to hold the last name Davis," she says.

After he died though, she felt lost and alone.

"I was 21 at the time of his death and people stopped talking about him. People wanted me to stop talking about him. They wrote off my grief due to my young age, like oh, you'll go get remarried everything will be ok," said Davis.

She didn't want to forget she's a young widow, so Davis searched for support.

"I typed in widow and it came back with the response, did you mean window?" she says.

That's when she created the American Widow Project .

"It was out of survival instincts, I think that America Widow Project came to be," says Davis.

A nonprofit that offers widows a website with hundreds of personal stories, a 24-hour hotline and life enhancing trips to swim with dolphins, skydive, or give back to various communities.

Each event, every story, each connection--makes Davis more determined to help others.

"These are women that saved my life and they're still saving my life, and I feel like I owe it to them," said Davis.

Like the motto on her new office wall--she wants widows to know it's still possible to dream big, live big, love big.

"We just want to allow them to see that they can find happiness again and they can smile and they don't have to feel bad about it. Just because their husband isn't here to do it doesn't mean he wouldn't want them to smile," said Davis.

So far Davis has connected with almost 800 widows.

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