Writers Block: Navy widow shares a message of hope through her book Providing Promise

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 7:33 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Women and men who lost their loved ones in the line of duty are being honored this month. They are Gold Star spouses, one East Tennessee woman is turning her experience into helping others.

Kris Rystrom Emmert wrote Providing Promise, 25 years after her husband was lost at sea.

“My husband was a commander in the United States Navy and he was an aviator. We had been married for about seven years. And at the time, he was stationed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and we were not at war, we were at peace. He was on Operation Promise is what they called it. "

Emmert said two weeks into her husband’s deployment she got a knock at her door. “I thought to myself ‘Why are naval officers coming to my door while Jon is at sea?’ I thought- If they’re here for why I think they’re here for I don’t want to answer that door...I did and they had tears streaming down their faces and I knew... ‚” she said. Jon’s crew was dropping off food and medicine to a refugee camp in Bosnia, when on the way back something went terribly wrong.

“They don’t know what happened, there was no cry for help, they were not shot down. Just his plane flew straight into the water without any cause. ...And so they were there to tell me that my husband was lost at sea,” she said. At the time she had a seven month old and a three year old.

“I went from being a stay-at-home mom and Navy wife to being a single mom, and Navy widow, and I was only 31 years old. So, just that tragedy, and especially as a woman of faith, you start asking yourself those questions as to why, why me, why my husband.” So Kris made a choice, she decided to share her story to help others. She started speaking at events and churches staring Providing Promise Ministries and now she just finished her book.

“My daughter wanted to have a legacy for her child,” she said. 25 years later, Kris is at peace. She remarried a local Pastor who encouraged her to share her story to help others.

“You’re going to make it, it’s going to take time grief is ugly and grief is hard, whatever that grief looks like. But when you’re on the other side of it, you’re going to be stronger, and you’re going to see beautiful things happen out of tragedy.”

If you’d like to get a copy of her book you can find it at her website Providing Promise.

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