Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m Erin: a young writer, mother, graduate student, photographer, volunteer, and widow.

This blog began in 2010 as Not Your Average Widow, an outlet for my grief after my husband was killed in Afghanistan in September 2009 at the age of 25. It started as a place to record my jumbled thoughts in hopes of making some sense of mourning, but it unexpectedly became much more than that. Not only did I find release through writing, but I soon found strength in numbers as I began connecting with other young widows (there are more of us than you think!). And as I documented the rollercoaster journey of widowhood, Not Your Average Widow became a place of growth, expression, inspiration, and companionship.

Several years later, my heart has now grown and evolved beyond what I could have imagined in those early days and I have finally reached a place of healing. With this has a come a time for release, a time to allow myself to let go. While I’ll always be a widow and grief will always have a room in a special corner of my heart, I hear a whisper telling me to close the door and hold the key close to my heart. It is time to let go of the title I have been clinging to and, instead of longing for the past, begin to move forward this new life I have been given. Move forward with peace, knowing that I will never lose the love I share with The Hubs and will carry it with me always. Move forward with courage, embracing the strength and wisdom I have gained through these difficult years. Move forward with hope, anticipating the new adventures ahead and living this new life with abandon.

So, ‘Not Your Average Widow’ is moving forward ‘With Swallows Wings’. Like Shakespeare said, “true hope is swift, and flies with swallows wings.” I hope to always carry hope in my heart, no matter how difficult life may be, and fly forward inspiring myself and others to soak up every moment of this short life we have been given. This is the heart of the new blog: a place for inspiration and beauty, to remind us all to find joy in the small moments of life and discover the courage within us to endure the difficult ones.

I hope you enjoy your visit to the blog! Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. I love to hear from my readers, so please feel free to contact me using the Contact link above or by emailing me at notyouraveragewidow [at] gmail [dot] com. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter. I welcome your feedback, encouragement, and your stories! <3

Some items of interest:


Patricia Duggan


I just posted an article on my site that I thought your readers might find interesting as well. It’s called “25 Q & A Sites on Mental Illness” ( http://www.psychologydegree.com/25-q-a-sites-on-mental-illness ).

If you think that my article might spark your readers’ attention, I was wondering if you might consider mentioning it on your site? I’m trying to build up readership on my site as well.

Either way, I really appreciate your time.

Patricia Duggan

I was just stopping by after I saw your name on 12 by 2012 and your name caught my interest. What a beautiful blog you have and your about page is so heartfelt. Wishing you nothing but the best in life and in blogging x


I came across your Blog while searching some home improvement ideas and had to read your profile once I noticed the name of your blog. It left me stunned. My name is Erin, I’m married to an Army SSG, I have a 3 year old little boy who was born in January of 2009. My husband deployed 6 days after my son’s birth and was deployed for all of 2009. He just returned from his 4th deployment last month. My heart aches for you and your little boy at the loss of your husband. I wanted to say thank you for his service and sacrifice, and thank you for your strength. I wish you and your little boy all the very best. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.



Hi Erin,

I came across your site as I just lost my husband (28 years old) to cancer on April 13, 2012. We have two beautiful girls ages 5 and 2. I still can’t believe that this is my life now and your site has been very helpful to me. I feel like I am that old woman because I don’t know any widow in their twenties. I am sorry for the loss of your husband but I am thankful for your strength in starting this blog. Your blog is such a positive one despite the topic and that is exactly what I need. Some of the other sites are so depressing and too hard to look at when I’m already so sad. This blog makes me feel empowered and I don’t feel as doomed coming here. Thank you for that.


Victoria Schmitt

I’m excited to have found this! My husband died at age 45 from leukemia and I’m (slowly) working on a book about the experience. It’s been transformative for me and I bet it has been for you too. I’m looking forward to reading your blog!


Brian Fargher

Widowed 11 years ago but as you have discovered my heart continues to grow – there something encouraging and inspiring reading about your and other widow(er)s journeys. We have only each other to connect in a truly “understanding” sort of way. What an exciting adventure you are heading on – we await your reports and discovery of new horizons.

Brian (South Africa)


I am 11 years into widower-hood – a few more grey hairs, and hopefully a bit wiser well perhaps. Yes I got to the angry spots and the other dark places from time to time.
My one observation is that we have to revisit the things we have seemingly laid to rest and we think are behind us. That always bothered me, but I have now realised that we do this because we have grown somewhat and we need to revisit things to see them with our new eyes and work through them again. I suppose the analogy is explaining death to a 4 year old and having to rework through it when they are 10 years old. So coming back to the angry spots – they will keep coming back but each time we are different and need to work through things with our “new selves”. The scars never disappear completely, but we get more used to them and learn how to handle them better.
Sadly as widows/widowers we actually have an easier time than our kids do. I had to find professional help for one son, but eventually we all helped each other deal with the anger and other emotions and no we don’t move on forgetting the past. We celebrate the past, cherish the memories and open ourselves up to the future.

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