Taryn Davis from her blog “A love interrupted”
In my quest to bring to you the best milspouse prose, I came across another blog that literally took my breath away. Every post from this talented writer is both poignant and poetic in a way that words cannot describe. I am happy she agreed to let me share a few posts that truly inspire me to be a better person. First, a few words about Taryn Davis from the website americanwidowproject.org:
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. Her 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 had been 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.
Taryn and the American Widow Project have received recognition from the Following:
• Top 10 CNN Hero of 2011
• One of Newsweek Magazine’s “150 Women Who Shake the World”
• Diller-Von Furstenburg Foundation’s “People’s Voice Award” Winner
• L’Oreal’s 2010 National Woman of Worth
• VH1’s Do Something Award Recipient
• One of Glamour Magazine’s 21 Amazing Young Women of 2011
• “Texan of the Year” Finalist
• Central Texas NASW Public Citizen of the Year
• Austin Woman Magazine’s “10 Women to Watch”
If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.
~ William Penn
On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.
A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.
Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.
My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.
I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.
“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.
“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”
“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.
“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.
I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.
I exited with a smile.
I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.
I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.
The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.
All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…
I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing. I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.
As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing. I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.
I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children, and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.
These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and ones that I admired.
They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.
I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.
We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated: “Give me a kiss to build a dream on And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this A kiss to build a dream on..”
That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful, of days.
Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.
Today marks 8.
8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.
I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.
I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”
As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.
The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.
This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.
I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.
I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.
Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.
With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.
I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.
Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:
This lovely bud so young and fair Called hence by early doom Just came to show how sweet a flower In paradise could bloom.
I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.
At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.
I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.
As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.
I hope it made him smile.
My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.
As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.
Next, being a lover of the sweets I placed many a treats on many a cars:
One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!
My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.
I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.
The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”
I thanked him.
He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.
I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.
I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.
I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.
Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.
Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.
Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.
A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.
Happy Anniversary, baby.
Thank you all.