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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
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 »

Corner Canyon Infielders
The True Meaning of Sacrifice

TAPS Magazine | The wearing of names on the back of uniforms is nothing new. It began as a way of identifying a favored player from the cheap seats. It is used today in professional ranks and most college athletic programs. Rarely does it make it to the high school level... More »

Khobar Towers 20th Anniversary
Khobar Towers 20th Anniversary: Then and Now

TAPS Magazine | TAPS has provided frontline care and resources to families of the military fallen for 22 years. In 1996, the terrorist bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia took the lives of 19 U.S. Air Force personnel and wounded hundreds more. While an act of cowardice claimed these lives, with acts of courage.. More »

Attending a Funeral
Attending Funerals After Loss

TAPS Magazine | When our hearts are newly broken and the magnitude of our losses seems insurmountable, it is hard to think beyond the surreal moments of your own hero's memorial service, wake or funeral. Whether your loved one is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery or under a tall oak in the family cemetery.. More »

Lighting Candles in Memory of Loved One
Grief Grappling: Fighting for a New Normal

TAPS Magazine | Grief Demands AttentionThere is tremendous shock, confusion and even denial that accompanies sudden death. It is equally traumatic to watch the prolonged suffering of those you love. Regardless of how grief comes for you, it will. It is the great, dark hunter. You can't ignore grief. It tracks you d.. More »

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