Afterburner: For a Military Widow - Memorial Day is EVERY Day

Michael Cerkas's picture

As Memorial Day is a day for many Americans to pay tribute and to honor every person who has served in the military, it is an everyday stark reality and a lifetime for women, whose military spouses were killed in the line of duty serving their country.

Appropriately and intentionally, this story is written after the nationally observed Memorial Day, to separate the context of the subject from the homage to those in direct service to their country, and equally important, to focus on the women left to live their lives in the absence of their husbands.

Deservedly, attention goes to the individuals whose lives were sacrificed in the line of duty as soldiers. But what about the lives of the widows of those soldiers who remain? The women who must continue to care for their children; who must provide financial support for themselves and their family; who must find a way to emotionally heal; who must adapt to living alone in what was supposed to be a partnership for life.

Never to be Alone Again
Taryn Davis is one such military widow. Four years ago, while age 21, she learned that her husband, Army Corporal Michael W. Davis, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. In an interview with CNN, Davis explains how she felt isolated and lost after learning of her 22-year-old husband’s death.

In Davis’s words, “After the funeral, I felt ostracized. Everybody liked to write off my grief due to my young age. They liked to say: “Well, at least you’re young. You’ll get remarried.’ “

For Taryn, the realization of her youth and the extra time it brought, did little to console or heal her spirit and soul; much less address the intense grief, uncertainty, fear and anxiety of the knowledge of moving forward; alone.

Many soldiers experience ‘survivor guilt’ after having lived through the loss of fellow soldiers; individuals whose lives depend on each other’s presence, decisions and actions. Similarly, Taryn Davis experienced and struggled with survivor guilt as a widow.

So, she sought healing by following a different path; a path of sharing, encouragement, healing and most importantly, triumph over the loss of another human being that is forever intertwined with your self.

Watch a highlight from a CNN News Special about Taryn Davis and the American Widow Project:

Experience and understand what it means to be a military widow:

Davis will be forever grateful for the newfound friends she has made as well as the souls she has likewise touched and enabled to bring their grief to the surface where it can be effectively addressed. She underscored this appreciation by stating, "They've given me the gift of life again," she said. "I don't know what my life would be if I didn't talk to a widow every day. I'm so grateful that they're in my life. They've taught me that love is eternal and that life can be amazing again."

Visit the American Widow Project here. Learn and experience what life is like for the surviving spouse of a fallen soldier. Understand how compassion heals wounds that are not visible on the surface, but rather, hidden deep within an individual. Learn how others cope with loss and feelings of abandonment. Recognize and release the pain so that life can be again lived to its fullest.

Image credit: Washington Times

You can reach Michael Cerkas via email at

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