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The death of a loved one who served in the military can turn your normal life upside down. Sometimes even your friends can’t understand what you are going through after the death of your loved one, because they haven’t been where you are. You may feel isolated, lonely or just plain sad. Grief is a normal response to loving someone and losing them, but it can hurt so much. And it may not just be you who is hurting. Other people in your life that you love may also be in pain, and you are not quite sure what to do or how to help them. Wherever you are at - you are not alone.

TAPS welcomes anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military - regardless of where they died or how they died. If you are hurting, we are here for you. We are so sorry for the loss of your loved one.

We know that military loss can feel very different, from other types of loss in your life. There is a public meaning often assigned to the death. You may have questions about the death, feelings you aren't sure how to process.

We began as a group of bereaved military families who lost their loved ones in a military plane crash in Alaska in 1992. Those families found comfort, connection and hope in talking with each other as they rebuilt their lives. After undertaking a two year study of support services available for bereaved military families, Bonnie Carroll founded TAPS in 1994 and modeled it on best practices found in peer-based support programs. We provide a safe and confidential program that supports people who are grieving.

You can connect with TAPS in one way or many ways:

  • Call us - if you would like to talk with someone on our survivor care team who can let you know about services and programs you might find helpful, or just need someone to talk to, please call us any time at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277). Our resource and information helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Sign up for a survivor resource kit and join our mailing list - we have a kit filled with resources and materials to help in coping with the death of your loved one. Sign up here. We can also add you to our mailing list so you'll start to receive the TAPS magazine each quarter.
  • Read articles about grief and loss in the TAPS magazine. Or visit our survivor care area online.
  • Get support through our online communities or real-time chats.
  • Request a peer mentor - this program connects you one-on-one with a caring person who has experienced a similar loss and has been trained in how to companion someone else who is grieving.
  • Connect with other survivors at a TAPS care group in your local community or request a customized list of grief support resources in your community.
  • Find out about bereavement counseling at a Vet Center or through another provider - our staff can help you set up the appointment if you like.
  • Meet other survivors at a TAPS event- see our event calendar.
  • Get questions answered - contact our casualty casework staff if you need help accessing benefits, want assistance requesting information, or don't know where to turn for answers in a difficult situation related to your loved one's death.

We are so sorry to get to know you, because we know you came here because you lost someone who died. But we are so glad you found us, and we are here for you. 

Our Stories
Topic: General Grief
Open Your Heart to Healing - Man by the River
Open Your Heart to Healing: Emotional Engagement in Your Own Life

TAPS Magazine | Have a WalkaboutWhile the term "walkabout" originates in Australian Aboriginal culture as a soul-searching rite of passage, it has found more general usage to describe movement intended to alleviate the feeling of being unsettled, restless, dissatisfied or bored. Having a walkabout means going outsi.. More »

Hope in Heavens - Blue Sky
Hope in the Heavens

TAPS Magazine | It has been said that people are equals at birth and death. Birth is typically celebrated as a joyous occasion, while death is a topic some cultures avoid due to the reality of its accompanying grief. Social convention and our own sense of duty can draw our focus toward tending to the deceased, and .. More »

Suicide Survivor Seminar - Not Alone
You’re Not Alone: Connections Across the Seasons

TAPS Magazine | Grief is not convenient or courteous.  It has no problem making itself known during holidays or on the weekends.  As we move forward into the season of holidays, closed businesses and inconsistent schedules, know that you can always count on TAPS to be standing by to wrap you in comfort and support... More »

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Holiday Wish List for the Grieving

TAPS Magazine | "Happy Hanukkah," they say. "Merry Christmas," they repeat. "Joyous Kwanza," they wish. But for some of us, happy and merry and joy are the remotest emotions of our heart. Especially during this season. Too many memories. Too many traditions. Too much pain. The empty chair at the dinner table. The o.. More »

Dozier, Amy on a path to the beach
From Grief to Gratitude

TAPS Blog | Some days, it feels like a long stretch to be thankful for these seemingly harsh lessons thrown my way in life, but it's a necessary part of healing as I turn grief into gratitude... More »

Sneakers, Relaxing
Tending the Garden of Grief With Mindfulness Meditation

TAPS Magazine | Autumn in my small farming town in mid-Maryland is a time of harvest and abundance. Farmers markets are in full swing, nourishing our bodies with healthy vegetables and filling our senses with vibrant colors and smells. And yet it is a time where nature's energy begins to wind down in preparation fo.. More »

Combine
Harvesting Hope: The Unexpected Bounty of Grief Work

TAPS Magazine | I grew up in rural Tennessee, where I remember riding along with a friend's grandfather on a combine, watching and listening as he maneuvered the large harvester/thresher through a crop of corn (while I got grease on a skirt I shouldn't have been wearing on farm equipment). Joe Taylor and I were 6 y.. More »

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