Dear Myeisha Johnson,
You don’t know me, but like millions of other Americans, I now know your name. All week you’ve been so heavy on my heart. Your overwhelming loss has been publicized, scrutinized and vandalized with untruth. I am so very sorry for all of that. You and your precious children deserve better. Your husband deserves better.
When the shock and numbness begin to wear off and you start to fully realize what has happened, I want you to know you are not alone. You are part of a large sisterhood now. Although it’s a club no one wants to join, there’s powerful support and encouragement here. There’s a multitude of women scarred by the heartache of losing a spouse, who “get it.” Each woman has her own unique story of loss. None, likely as painfully public as yours has become, but still, we know the pain behind your brave face. We saved our agony for the shower or an empty closet while wearing bravery in public, as I imagine you’ve done as well.
Your widow sisters will not tell you how you should feel. We won’t advise you on what choices you should make and when. Instead, we are the women that will circle around you in a protective ring. When people are cruel, either intentionally or not, we are there to defend you. We lift you in powerful prayer several times a day because we remember our own journey on this path. We weep for you even though we’ve never met. Our tears fall as we see ourselves in your grief.
We are the women who understand sorrow. We know what it’s like to look in the eyes of your children and wonder how it will be possible to raise them alone. We understand the fears, the anxieties, the anger and the doubts. We are out there, millions of us, each with our own grief battle wounds and scars, and we feel drawn to you with compassion and love.
We know how important it is for people to remember your husband’s name. Sgt. La David Johnson. We will say his name and we won’t forget. We will remember the stories you share about him. And we will always honor his courageous sacrifice, as well as yours.
We will always remember his Green Beret brothers and their families as well. We will say their names, too. They will not be forgotten. Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson.
I can’t imagine the added agony of having your grief in the forefront of national news. I can’t fathom the betrayal of having your integrity questioned during these first horrific weeks of loss. And I don’t know how terrible it must feel to not have the answers you need. When the news cycle shifts, we will still remember you, Myeisha. You will remain on our hearts.
Your new sisters are gathering into formation right now to protect you as you grieve. We can’t shield you from the pain of insensitivity, the sting of slander or the ache of loss, but we will guard your name as you grieve, because your agony is familiar to us. For every callous public statement made, we will counter with compassion. You’re one of us now. Woman. Mother. Widow. And we have your back. La David fought for us, and now we fight for you.
You deserve extra grace, love, compassion, understanding, support and truth. You don’t know us, but we are out here, fighting for those things on your behalf. Take care of yourself, Myeisha. Rest in the assurance that you are not alone.
© Jodi Whitsitt 2017