Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Caring for the Families of the Fallen
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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
The Dance
The Dance

TAPS Blog | Today on the TAPS Blog, surviving adult child Ashlynne Haycock shares how she connected to her mom on her fourth angelversary. She writes, "Signs from our loved ones come in all shapes and sizes, and this was the largest one I have ever received from my mom. It was her way of reminding me that she l.. More »

Ambard, Linda - Celebrate Life
Today Is My Day

TAPS Blog | Today on the TAPS Blog, surviving spouse Linda Ambard shares how she is learning to live her dreams. She writes, "Developing new dreams when one stands alone is difficult at best. This struggle is ongoing, but as part of living and loving life, I simply must dream again.".. More »

Huey - blog post

TAPS Blog | Today on the TAPS Blog, surviving spouse Sarah Greene talks about vacations after the death of a loved one. She writes, "We have been on some great memory-making trips, and they have been very rewarding and healing.".. More »

Shadow, Darkness, Light
My Experience of Trauma

TAPS Magazine | When I went to bed on the night of October 22, 1983, my life was stable, predictable, safe, and happy. Within twenty-four hours, my world toppled, shattering into a million pieces. On October 23, the Marine Corps barracks where my husband lived was bombed, killing 241 service members as they slept... More »

Andrews, Ellen Spring 2015 issue
Letters from TAPS: Find Healing This Spring

TAPS Magazine |  Dear TAPS Family,Traditionally the New Year brings thoughts of renewal. A time to look forward with renewed energy, goals, and hopes. We reflect on the things and people that impacted our lives. We move through the change of seasons, coming out of the winter and into the blossom of spring... More »

Grandparents Hug
Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving

TAPS Magazine | A child or young adult has died. Everyone who loved the child is now faced with mourning this tragic, untimely death. The child's parents are heartbroken. But what about the grandparents? How might they be feeling? How can you help them with their unique grief?.. More »

The Myth of Divorce Following the Death of a Child

TAPS Magazine | Experts on grief and loss often present the "myths of mourning" as a way of challenging commonly held beliefs and giving the bereaved more realistic and accurate information. We've all heard some of the myths, and you probably have a few you would add to this list:Talking about the deceased only pro.. More »

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