Overcoming tragedy and finding a purpose: Interview with Taryn Davis

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Not always. Sometimes one gets depressed or stuck or plainly ‘not over it’. Taryn Davis lost her husband when she was 21 years old. He died died in Iraq.

Talking about death is hard. I don’t know what to say or how to be with someone that faced a tragedy. When I was about to interview her I felt nervous. There was no need, really: Taryn is easy to talk to and fun. So please, don’t be nervous now to read about death – please read on and get some of the energy that Taryn has. She turned a tragedy around into service, love and purpose.

Nicole: Describe the moment you knew that you would like to create an organization to support widows.

The moment I decided to create it was when I had hit rock bottom. Living was an idea I was losing faith in but I knew I had to live for Michael until I found a reason to live for myself. The first step, I knew, would entail embracing the title I’d been given unwillingly: widow.

I went on to google for the answers. Typed in “WIDOW” and got the response, “Did you mean: WINDOW?”. That was the catalyst to it all.

Nicole: What is the American Widow Project. Why did you create it?

The American Widow Project is the first and only non-profit dedicated to serving the new generation of military widows through our alternative peer to peer programs created to overcome grief, embrace survival, and create a future. I created it out of my own necessity to want to survive my husband’s death in Iraq. My need to connect with those like me.

Nicole: What changed for you when you met other widows?

My life. They gave me a reason to live. They ignited my passion to breathe, persevere, and explore all that was before me.

Nicole: What’s the thing we don’t know about widows?

Their scars can’t be seen with the naked eye, but they are some of the largest wounds carried by those affected by war. Embrace them. Empower them. Learn from them. They understand how finite life is. They understand true love.

Nicole: Why did Michael want to serve?

He wanted to feel he was making a difference in the lives of others. He wanted to feel challenged and that his life was more then for just himself.

Nicole: What were your plans before Michael died? Did you have a career in mind? What was it?

I was a criminal justice major who planned on having a boring desk job that would suffice as long as I got to return home to Michael. We wanted to travel the world, start a family. Live and love with all of our being.

Nicole: It seems that you found a way to serve a cause bigger than yourself as well. Would you agree?

Undoubtedly. It is the goal that every human being should have.

A quote I always remember is:
I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized, I am somebody.

Nicole: What’s next for you and your organization?

Our main goal os to reach every military widow in the Nation. After reaching them it is our goal to provide them with resources and events that allow them to not only see that they can survive such a catastrophe, but thrive afterwards! Our goals are lofty, but attainable with the amount of passion behind it.

Nicole: How can people get involved? How can we support widows in our community?

Donations are always needed and appreciated, but our volunteers are just as necessary. Email tabbatha@americanwidowproject.org or visit: http://awp.staging.wpengine.com/volunteer/ to find the best fit and use of your
talents to support the new generation of military widows.
To do what you love is to never work another day of your life.

Nicole: What was the best job you ever had? Why?

The job I have now: Executive Director of the American Widow Project. To do what you love is to never work another day of your life.

Nicole: Why did you say YES to speak at Bonfire Heights?

As humans, it’s necessary that we evolve, grow, learn, become inspired daily. Bonfire Heights is the sum of all those things.


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