Taryn 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.
Taryn’s 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.
Erin is a live life to the fullest and regret nothing type of person. Even before losing her husband Sgt. Blake Stephens in May 2007 in Iraq they both had enjoyed life as much as they could of. Both of them had passions for extreme things, fitness and traveling the world. After becoming a widow Erin’s whole world changed and went upside down. She had no idea how anyone could survive losing their ultimate love. One of the main thing that got her through it was knowing she didn’t want him looking down on her and being disappointed. Eight months after Blake died Erin went on a 5 month world tour and discovered herself again. The biggest high in life for Erin is getting a new passport stamp yearly. It took her 3 years to discover the AWP thanks to her step mom searching for ways to find Erin comfort and it took Erin another 6 months to come up with the nerves to actually do something about it. That was the best decision she could of made for herself going on that AWP getaway! The life long friends Erin’s meet and the addition to her “family” has grown considerably from these widows helping to fill the void in her heart. Erin is more than ecstatic to become apart of the AWP and WidowU knowing she’ll be meeting more amazing women that will continue to make her grateful for the life that she has.
Tabbatha and Andy were high school sweethearts. After basic training, he was stationed overseas. The distance quickly made them realize they didn’t want to spend any more time apart.
While Andy prepared for his first deployment, Tabbatha was finishing her last year of college and planning their wedding. After 12 long months of deployment, they were finally able to settle into their married lives in Ft. Stewart, GA. It wasn’t long after arriving that Andy got word that he would be deploying again that following year. Thus, the training and weeks away began.
In May of 2007, Andy deployed a second time. Three months later, on August 11th, Andy and four other soldiers were killed by an IED. For months, Tabbatha felt as if she were standing still and everything was spinning around her. She wanted to escape, to live and laugh, but felt guilty being able to do these things without her best friend.
Through the AWP, Tabbatha has been able to continue Andy’s legacy and experience things she never thought were possible. This organization has opened a new chapter for her, a chapter of love, laughter and healing.
“I will not fail you, my love. I will continue on the path we shared and I know you will be there to help me, as you always were. And when we meet again at the journeys end, and we laugh together once more, I will have a thousand things to tell you.” -Unknown