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    November 12, 2008

    Inspiration: Gen Y Widows

    "Taryn Davis was just 21 years old when her husband was killed in Iraq. As a young widow, she felt bereft and very alone." So began a story about the American Widow Project on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday, Veteran's Day in the U.S.

    As Taryn told the reporter, during those dark days of grief, she kept thinking about where the other widows like her were: after all, many of the soldiers going to our overseas wars, getting injured, and dying in them are under age 30, and so are the spouses they often leaven behind.

    What struck me about this story, is not just the great sadness of finding oneself a widow at the age of 21, but the amazing thing Taryn did once she had found herself in that situation.

    Taryn picked up a camera and decided to go find other widows like herself and record their stories. And this turned into a documentary, and eventually into the American Widow Project, with a mission of providing a place for young widows to share their stories and get support from others like them.

    Now, Taryn and her crew are wanting to take things one step further. According to the story, there is no "guide" that military spouses receive on how to deal with the grief, anger, pain, and other emotions that come with losing a loved one at such a young age. And the widows are now working on getting their documentary included in the information and other stuff widows receive when they get the sad news. The girls are also setting out on an RV tour around military basis to help spread the message.

    These Gen Y women did what most women would do: they reached out to others, formed a community, leaned on each other, found solace in one another.

    They also did something very characteristic of Gen Y: they decided to get proactive and get engaged about an issue they were passionate about--lack of community and information for young military widows-- and they didn't wait for the action to come from top down.

    Some may characterize our generation as impatient, but I like to think of it as not waiting around for someone to remove all the boulders from our paths, but rather finding a way around them. And my hat is certainly off to these gals.

    1 comment:

    Tina & Drew said...

    Hi Miriam,

    loved this article on NPR yesterday. I think it speaks to the strengths of the Gen Ys/Millenials to be proactive, build social networks, and tools to provide tools to help other military widows who are facing similar situations as their own.