Home Page Tabs Title: Saturday Morning Message: Sharing Memorable TAPS Experiences
Posted By: TAPS
Last week’s question was about a memorable time that you had at a TAPS seminar. Here is my answer: When I first contacted TAPS, I heard about the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp being held in DC. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I knew that I couldn’t handle what I thought would be a weekend of mourning, so I waited until the second year after the death of my son. When I went, there was a big surprise waiting for me.
Last week’s question was about a memorable time that you had at a TAPS seminar.
Here is my answer: When I first contacted TAPS, I heard about the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp being held in DC. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I knew that I couldn’t handle what I thought would be a weekend of mourning, so I waited until the second year after the death of my son.
When I went, there was a big surprise waiting for me. Oh yes, there were tears, but the biggest impression came with the part of the TAPS motto that is to “celebrate the life”.
I had been so focused on Bryon’s death that I had almost forgotten that he lived and without that life; I would not be the person I am today. We all have an impact on each other both friends and family alike and he had certainly made an impression on me.
So the best part of a TAPS seminar for me is that it brought together people who were grieving, but also celebrating the life of their loved one. If you are interested in finding the nearest seminar to you, you can see our schedule online.
This week, there are two questions. One is from Terri. She writes: "I went to the Ft Hood Regional Seminar and it was amazing. I feel like I have a second family. I am going to the National Gathering for Military Suicide Survivors in October. I look forward to hearing from someone who’s been. Thank you.” If you have been to one of the TAPS seminars for military suicide survivors, please send your replies to me this week and I will post them in the upcoming Saturday Message.
The other question comes from me: Grief has many feelings. What is a feeling of grief that is hard for you to handle and what have you tried to help soften the effects of that feeling?
Thank you to all who responded this past week. This Saturday message wouldn’t be the same without input from other survivors.
What is the best thing that happened at a TAPS seminar?
From Bob and Vivian: We lost our son in ‘05. At the Philadelphia Seminar, we sat with a couple who had lost their son a few months previous. We all know how we were then. We shared our experiences and it helped them to understand that, although we still grieve, we are more able to cope with our grief. It gave them hope for their future. We still correspond and offer each other support. Yes, we cope better, but still have heartache and sometimes it's almost as bad as in the beginning. We help them; they help us.
From Debbie and Ken: We have attended 2 of the seminars, one for suicide survivors and the national seminar in DC. The best thing about attending these is you can talk about your loved one, cry and laugh and no one gets uncomfortable because we are all in the same boat, trying to navigate this thing called grief that has been so devastating. We are there to talk, remember, celebrate and share. Thanks to all of those peer mentors for helping us in the process. Maybe soon we can take that move to be mentors ourselves.
From Kay: The best advice I got at the TAPS Mentoring portion of the seminar was when Darcie gave us a way to START our session during our first contact with the person we wish to help. She suggested to break the ice after introducing ourselves by saying, “If this is a good time to talk, why don’t I give us both a minute to go get a cup of coffee or tea. Would you like that?” Note that coffee or tea is a soothing balm and sets the stage for a friendly talk, just as if we were in the same room. Just a simple idea Darcie gave us, but SO important.
From Mary-Ann: In answer to this week’s question there were a number of very helpful things that came about there. I remember feeling I was talking and listening to others who actually knew what we were going through. Everyone had basically experienced the same hurts and side effects we were going through after the loss of our Blake. I also realized others were even worse off since they had multiple losses. My heart bled for them since I couldn't imagine going through this a second time. I was very grateful that our family seemed to cling to one another unlike others that fell apart. I left knowing I wasn't alone, things actually could have been worse and someday I could expect things to become less painful.
From Terri: I was very nervous about going to Ft. Hood. I will be honest I really wanted to come home Saturday morning. But I stayed. I'm so glad I did. As we got into our groups and started to share I realized that I was surrounded by people who understood. They 'got it'. I feel isolated so much because my friends really don't understand. Here I was surrounded by people who did not judge or question me. So much of what I had felt and experienced in the last two years, so had others. Over the course of the weekend I realized I had a new family. They loved me unconditionally and accepted me in my grief. Even though we were all hurting we found strength in each other. There was such a strong bond created. I'm looking forward to going to San Diego in October and being with my new family. This is a journey none of us wanted, but because of TAPS we don’t have to travel it alone.