American Widow Project

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending an AWP event.  AWP stands for  the American Widow Project.  A charity started by a military widow when she lost her husband at age 21.

I stumbled across the AWP website about a year after I lost Brad. I remember clearly the night I found it. I read the stories and cried, and read some more. I think I looked through everything on the site – wonderful resources, (many that I knew nothing about), songs and quotes and all sorts of “widow” things. Reading it made me feel less alone.  I remember thinking “finally! someone who gets it!” I was so grateful to have found it.

I knew they did events, and they cover all the expenses (which is awesome!)  but the girls were too little for me to seriously think about going on a getaway, and as years passed and they got old enough for me to leave the timing was just never right.

The first trip that I could even make work in our family schedule was the Seattle trip in July.  Even though I was really nervous about the thought of going to spend a weekend with a bunch of people I’ve never met I decided that I would register and see if I got in.

Well, I got in. And even while I was registering I knew going would be a good thing.
I felt like I was meant to go.

I was really excited and really, really, REALLY nervous about the trip. I worried that I would be the “old lady” of the group and I worried if I would really relate to the people I met there.

Well, it turned out that I had nothing to worry about.  They had a great weekend mapped out for us. We all stayed in this really cool house in Seattle and went Kayaking and zip-lining and did a food tour at Pikes Place market- SO fun!

But the BEST thing about the trip was meeting these amazing widows. While our life circumstances and backgrounds were all completely different, they understood the one thing no one else can. I saw pieces of myself in every widow there. Places I had been and places I hope to get too. I learned from each of them. It was such a healing and inspiring thing for me to be able to meet these fabulous ladies.  It was amazing to me that the AWP could throw together 10 people who have never met, have nothing in common except losing a husband in the line of duty and by the time the weekend is over we are like old friends – laughing and crying together.

I consider it an honor and a privilege to have met them and to be one of them.

I am so grateful this wonderful charity exists. And so grateful that a 21 year old widow had the courage to follow her heart and start this amazing organization. If you are looking for a charity to support -THIS is it.

It was such a good thing for me. I came home with a fresh new batch of courage – feeling like I can do this and that I’m not alone. I had no idea how empowering it would be to meet other widows who have survived that dreaded knock on the door.   I came home with 10 new friends and full of inspiration.  Can’t ask for much more than that 🙂

So this is my shout out to the ladies of the AWP. Taryn and TT. You are amazing. You do so much good.  Thank you for being brave and following your heart and thank you for inspiring others to do the same.  Widow Power 🙂

{Thank you for this beautiful photo Genesa! Photography credit: genesarichardsphotography.com }

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