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1…2…3…4…5…6… (military widow)

by Taryn Davis, Executive Director
American Widow Project

6 boxes are all that is left of my husband. One filled with his socks, another with his uniforms, and another with every card or photo he had received. Three more contain his books, sheets, and other military effects.

I remember when the boxes arrived, I sat there so anxious to see what was left of my baby. Opening each one I had no clue what I would see. Cautiously, I lifted the lids of the hard black containers.

There are the cards I wrote him, there are the movies he’d watch every night, there are the photos of me he had hanging next to his bed………there is the only thing left of my husband’s existence while in Iraq.

I remember opening up his laptop to find a snapshot of me I never knew he liked. There was the bear that had the personal message I had recorded telling him I can’t wait to see him come home and be together again. There were all the things I had sent, all the memories on film we had captured, all the literature he adored reading, now with no reader.

I forgot all that he had accumulated over his 8 months over there. Due to that fact, many items were so heartwarming but always with an aftertaste of anger.

I remember going through his clothes and immediately putting them to my nose……detergent. ‘I’ll try another shirt or maybe his socks!’ ……detergent. The fact that they had washed all of his clothing made me so infuriated! Let me have one last breath of his smell. The smell I was unable to be without for 8 months…..and now forever.

Some of Michael’s things I pulled out right away, others are still sitting in those looming boxes sitting in my garage. Every now and then I’ll open them to get a small inhale from his pillow that they DIDN’T wash, or go for a search for some hidden letter he may have written in case he would die.

I never found the letter, I never got my husband to come home, and all I am left with are our memories, a few items of meaning and………6 black boxes.

About the Author: Taryn Davis was living the “normal” life. She had married her soul mate, was about to graduate college, and had her future with him to look forward to. That was until May 21, 2007. Her husband had been killed by multiple roadside bombs just an hour and a half after they last spoke. Feeling lost and alone in the new world she’d been thrown into, she began traveling around the country to hear other women’s stories of love, tragedy… and overall survival. In hearing their accounts, she hoped to learn more about the title that been had given to her… that of a military widow.

What began as her own personal journey has expanded into a non-profit organization, a documentary film, and a growing website. She has grasped on and embraced her new life with all the enthusiasm and passion she had when Michael was still alive. Inspired solely off the willpower and strength of the women “in her shoes” she has found that true love is eternal, that the lessons and things her husband said and did still run through her veins, and mostly….she is not alone. You may contact Taryn through EMAIL