Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Caring for the Families of the Fallen
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New to TAPS?

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
Elm, Mike Peace Sign
Welcome Home

TAPS Magazine | We are psychologically tethered to those we love. When they die, we are cut loose from those firm moorings, so we feel adrift, disoriented. When people ask how we are doing, the answer is certain: “We are lost.”.. More »

Wright, Emma at cemetery
Understanding A Widow’s Heart, New Directions

TAPS Magazine | March 9, 2013Two and a half years ago today marks the darkest day I've ever known. The day when I was awakened by two dark silhouettes that I could see through the decorative glass panel of my front door. I could have been dreaming. Given the fact that the sun had not risen, that was my immediate as.. More »

Woman Sunset
The Capacity to Love

TAPS Magazine | “Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy, but also great pain. The greatest pain comes from leaving…the pain of the leaving can tear us apart. Still, if we want to avoid the suffering of leaving, we.. More »

Rope Hammock
Healing Through Our Strength, Knowing Our Weakness, Part 2

TAPS Magazine | I was walking through the woods the other day, completely merged with the sound of the wood thrush, when suddenly my left foot twisted under me as I stepped on a root jutting out in the path. I felt it starting to twist and relieved it by taking all of my weight off that foot, thereby tumbling uncer.. More »

Man in the Fog
The Fog of Grief

TAPS Magazine | Most of us functioned fairly competently in our day-to-day lives—holding jobs or attending college, raising children, reading books, taking care of our health, entertaining friends and family—right up until someone we loved stopped living. Instantly we become disorganized, distracted, distraught, di.. More »

The Way Men Heal Book Cover
Book Shelf: The Way Men Heal

TAPS Magazine | The ways we grieve are as varied as the swirls and ridges at the tips of our fingers. This is why Tom Golden's The Way Men Heal (G.H. Publishing, 2013) is such a refreshing perspective of grief. In his book, Tom challenges some of the traditional judgments associated with healing. And don't let the .. More »

Greene, Wes and TAPS Mentors
A Few Good Men

TAPS Magazine | Since the death of my husband, one of my son’s most difficult challenges, aside from dearly missing his dad’s daily physical presence, has been the desire for guidance from this most important man in his life. I have struggled with providing those daily “man” lessons and teaching him how to grow int.. More »

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