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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
Woman Opening the 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 »

Beach Memorial
Why Rituals Help Us Mourn…and Heal

TAPS Magazine | I often say that when words are inadequate, we should turn to ritual. Nowhere is this more true or important than after someone we love has died. In this article, I will explain why rituals are essential and how you can continue to use the power of ritual to help yourself and your family heal, even .. More »

Fireplace Christmas Stockings
Grief 101: Back to the Basics

TAPS Magazine | The holiday season—with its inevitable reminders of the empty spaces in our families—is a good time to go back to the basics of what we know about grief. This article is found on Bereaved Families of Ontario - Toronto website, article: Grief 101: Back to the Basics.. More »

Gift Red Paper White Bow
Holiday Expectations

TAPS Magazine | All of us get caught up in expectations not only of what the holidays are supposed to be, but also in the roles we are supposed to play in those holidays. We're supposed to be joyful and happy at Christmas time. We're supposed to shop and decorate and prepare, and we're supposed to say and do the ri.. More »

Winter Wonderland
Is Winter Paradise in Disguise?

TAPS Magazine | There ought to be a law! There ought to be a law against snow and ice and winter. There ought to be a law against snow drifting across the back door and one against ice forming on the sidewalks after I've shoveled. There ought to be a law against 40 below and frozen peas (they have nothing to do wit.. More »

White Lily
The Mourner's Bill of Rights

TAPS Magazine | As a bereaved person, you have certain rights that others must not take away from you. In fact, it is the very upholding of these rights that makes healing possible... More »

Robinson, Deborah and Brian
What Shall We Tell Them?

TAPS Magazine | Dear Ones,As I reflect on the eight months, six days, and fifteen hours since my son Brian’s death, it is confusing to figure out where I stand in this grief trip that I hate. “Hate” is not a nice or feel-good word, but it is how I see this loss and feel it in the pit in my stomach. It would seem th.. More »

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