10/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

American Widow Project: 6 Black Boxes

The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter.........Widow to Widow.

"We Regret To Inform You" is a documentary about its founders, part of a series called "In Their Boots" which is being produced by Brave New Foundation. For the next two weeks "We Regret to Inform You" is being debuted at"

American Widow Project and In Their Boots are doggedly non-political and nothing either group does is intended to comment on the wars, or the politics that surround them. In Their Boots is here to tell the stories and The American Widow Project is here to support the Families of the Men and Women who have given their lives in the service of their country.


6 boxes are all that is left of my husband. One filled with his socks, another with his uniforms, and another with every card or photo he had received. Three more contain his books, sheets, and other military effects.

I remember when the boxes arrived, I sat there so anxious to see what was left of my baby. Opening each one I had no clue what I would see. Cautiously, I lifted the lid of the hard black containers.

There are the cards I wrote him, there are the movies he'd watch every night, there are the photos of me he had hanging next to his bed.........there is the only thing left of my husband's existence while in Iraq.

I remember opening up his laptop to find an snapshot of me I never knew he liked. There was the bear that had the personal message I had recorded telling him I can't wait to see him come home and be together again. There were all the things I had sent, all the memories on film we had captured, all the literature he adored reading, now with no reader.

I forgot all that he had accumulated over his 8 months over there. Due to that fact, many items were so heartwarming but always with an aftertaste of anger.

I remember going through his clothes and immediately putting them to my nose......detergent. 'I'll try another shirt or maybe his socks!' .......detergent. The fact that they had washed all of his clothing made me so infuriated! Let me have one last breath of his smell. The smell I was unable to be without for 8 months.....and now forever.

Some of Michael's things I pulled out right away, others are still sitting in those looming boxes sitting in my garage. Every now in then I'll open them to get a small inhale from his pillow that they DIDN'T wash, or go for a search for some hidden letter he may have written in the case he would die.

I never found the letter, I never got my husband to come home, and all I am left with are our memories, a few items of meaning and.........6 black boxes.