Artis Henderson – Scholarship Recipient and Author
When my husband was killed in Iraq in 2006, I thought my life had ended too. I didn’t know it was possible to hurt that much and still be alive. With the weight of my grief pressing down on me, I trudged through one day after the next. I survived all the important firsts — the first Christmas without him, the first birthday, the first wedding anniversary — and finally the one-year mark arrived.
“You’ll be disappointed to find out what comes next,” a widowed friend told me.
“What comes next?” I asked her.
“Another year.”
That was the moment I understood that I could not grieve forever. My sadness might stay, and I was pretty sure I’d always miss my husband, but my life would continue. It was up to me what I did with it.
The truth was, I wanted to be a writer. As far back as I could remember, I dreamed of writing books. But I never thought someone like me could make that happen. Still, I reasoned that the worst had already come to pass. Why not try to make that dream real?
Through a combination of good fortune and persistence, I began writing for local publications. Soon I had a column in the newspaper and articles in glossy magazines. If I wanted to become an author, I knew I needed to go farther. I had to go back to school. 
I started looking at graduate programs and quickly realized how expensive it would be. When I confessed my worries to another military widow, she told me about Hope for the Warriors. 
“They have a scholarship for surviving spouses,” she said. “You should apply.” 
As soon as I found out that I’d been accepted to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, I applied to the Hope for the Warriors scholarship. I still remember the moment they called to tell me I received it. When I heard the news, I started crying. I had worked so hard to get to that point, and now here were people who would help me. Hope for the Warriors believed in the possibility of a new life, and for that I am grateful.
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