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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
2014 National Seminar - Handing Tee Shirts
The Fabric of Grief

TAPS Magazine | Has your wardrobe changed since the loss of your loved one? I can tell you that mine has definitely changed. I have expressed (and sometimes embarrassed) myself in almost every clothing choice throughout my grief, and I don't think I am alone. .. More »

People Embrace
Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal

TAPS Magazine | Historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, "There are always two parties to a death; the person who dies and the survivors who are bereaved." Unfortunately, many survivors of suicide suffer alone and in silence. The silence that surrounds them often complicates the healing that comes from being encouraged.. More »

Miles and Artis
Healing Through Writing

TAPS Magazine | When my husband CW2 Miles Henderson was killed in Iraq in November 2006, I felt like I had lost everything. Miles was my best friend, my teammate, the reason I got up every morning. Without him, I couldn't imagine a future. Or any future I wanted to be part of. After months of a grief so blinding I .. More »

Hand in Water
Healing Through Our Strength, Knowing Our Weakness, Part 1

TAPS Magazine | I gritted my teeth and slowly lowered my arm and hand into the murky water. I hadn't reached the bottom and the water was above my elbow. I couldn't see beyond a foot or so...then came the mucky, slimy, and smelly bottom. I groped around and found the object I was seeking. It was a small plastic act.. More »

Apple - Health
Grief and Your Health

TAPS Magazine | The loss of a loved one to death is a life-shattering experience. It affects us physically as well as emotionally. The grief we experience is felt on an emotional level, and the stress of these emotions can create havoc with our bodies... More »

Woman looking up at trees
Feeling My Way Through Grief

TAPS Magazine | I learned a long time ago that there is no way around grief. Can’t climb over it, can’t crawl under it and, as clever as I’ve tried to be, no way to sneak around it. The only way through grief is…through it. For the newly bereaved (and for anyone who is in a “hit of grief” at any point on their jour.. More »

Woman Opening Curtains
Guilt—What It Is

TAPS Magazine | After your loved one died, did you find yourself saying things such as: I should’ve, I shouldn’t have, If only, I wish I would’ve, or why didn’t I? If so, you are part of a very large group of humans who have felt guilty following a death. It doesn’t matter whether the death took place thousands of .. More »

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