Saturday, June 9, 2012


Image I was asked I question recently and figured I'd respond in a blog:
Hi Taryn, Thank you for publishing this, it makes me feel that others are like me. One thing I want to ask you: why should I be proud of being a widow? I hate it when I am referred to as a widow! I just hate it! I don't see why I should be proud. I would love it if I could say "I'm so-and-so's wife". Give me a reason to be proud of being a widow. Thanks again.
When Michael was first killed I remember sitting there thinking, 'Does this mean I have to be a widow?!'. Our society had put such a stigma on the word, that any chance in me feeling the need to embrace it was pretty slim. I even had people telling me not to call myself that. "Widow" was a title that had everything going against it in the sense of embracing it. But I remember, one evening, in the first few months after his death, thinking of the pride I had when standing next to him and hearing him introduce me as his wife. I felt unstoppable. I felt that the world was mine to conquer. I felt that with him by my side and the title of his wife...that all in the world was right. It was in thinking of that feeling that I knew I had all reason in the world to feel the same as his widow. That title represents his sacrifice. That title represents my sacrifice. And that title, due to the fact that I am still here to say I am the widow of Michael...represents my survival. I know it is easier sad than done to embrace a word that for centuries has been shunned and put in a negative light, but when I think of that glowing feeling in my heart when I stood next to him as his wife, I quickly let the notions of others fall to the wayside as the same feeling sweeps over me as I introduce myself as his widow. You earned this title with every ounce of love you share with them. You earned this title with every day you decided to get up and inhale and exhale after their passing. You earned this title for being an example for all those that will come after you and will be asking the same question on why they should embrace a word...and then they see how you have lived...and suddenly know why. So be proud. Being a widow is a title worth sharing.


  1. I still hesitate to tell people unless I have to, even though I kind of hear Michele telling me to teach people about the actual face of widowhood. But I do it, anyway, and it's starting to get easier. I'm starting to feel more pride, too. Last time I did it, I left that little store (the two salespeople were speechless) feeling pretty awesome, actually. They got to see that I'm upright. I'm functioning. I'm young. They will hopefully now think a little differently about widowhood. If they have to join this club, I'd rather they have the image of smiling me, than a sad, elderly lady in black whose life is over race through their minds.

  2. In the word widow there is also a fulfillment of love and commitment. The truth that tip death do us part has value because it was oh so worth loving our spice daily.

    The word widow reminds me of my loss but also of a completed love.

  3. I too struggle with saying that I am a widow. I think part of that is accepting that he has truly died. When I still try to keep him alive in so many different ways that I can now. But as you have said and I remind myself to say I am a widow means yes I have endured a terrible loss, but with that I was a wife that loved her husband and was loved by this very special man too!

  4. Taryn, I had the great privilege of getting to know you at Camp Widow East. I'm one of the mother-daughter widow duo from Alabama.

    I remember the first time I had to fill out a form after my husband's death and the dreaded "marital status" section. I had to check the widow box and it was like someone stabbed me. Quite frankly, I still felt married (and if the truth be told, I still do).

    I still struggle with the widow title. People either look at me with pity...quietly walk away...or ask questions that make me uncomfortable. Then there are those creepy guys who hear the word widow and think FRESH MEAT.

    And while I'm on this topic, I struggle with my Facebook status. It still says married. I've not changed it because if I change it to widow, I lose access to my late husband's page. I wish there were some way we could change his page "In Memory of...." and let me be listed as his widow. Certainly there is someone with clout who could speak for all of us out there in similar situations.

    I have spoken of you often to friends as a source of inspiration for me. You are an amazing young woman...and a strong voice for widows and widowers of our fallen soldiers. Thank you for your courage and strength that you share with us.


  5. Cyna:

    Facebook, upon request and verification, will turn a person's profile into a memorial version (for one thing, it won't continue to show up in people's "Reconnect with" or "People you may know" sections). Whether it will allow you to show yourself as *his* widow, I don't know. Here's the link.