Stories for 2015


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Pure Gold

For those of us who have lost a service member, we have our own story about a journey, a star, and the blue that turned to gold.

12/22/2015 - Michele Hiester Marcum
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TAPS Magazine Winter 2015

Volume 21, Issue 4

12/21/2015 - TAPS Quarterly Magazine
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Spotlight on Service: Casey Callanan

Casey's interest to volunteer with TAPS was spurred by a speech delivered by Vice President Joe Biden during the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar.

12/21/2015 - TAPS
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teams4taps Marks Second Anniversary

The teams4taps program celebrated its two-year anniversary in November setting in motion an exciting end-of-year schedule of team engagements.

12/21/2015 - TAPS
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Letter from TAPS

As we approach the holidays, we brace ourselves with gratitude and learn to be thankful for the gaps and spaces because of who once filled them.

12/21/2015 - Emily Munoz
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Grief Reactivated

Even though the process did not occur in any prescribed order or in the way some say it should have, I felt I reached important milestones in my grief journey.

12/21/2015 - Ashlynne Haycock
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Friends of TAPS: Windy25

This group of dedicated current and former military understands that when we call our fallen heroes by name and honor their memories they are with us.

12/21/2015 - TAPS
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Book Shelf: Surviving the Holidays Without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons

In this easy to read book, hospice chaplain and bereavement specialist Roe shares how you can move through the holidays with your loved one in a new way.

12/21/2015 - Kelly Griffith
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Finding Your Inner Warrior

TAPS knows that strength for the journey is an important way we can help and inspire each other and launches a new TAPS Health & Wellness Initiative.

12/21/2015 - Emily Munoz
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A Recipe for Holiday Wellness

Traditions define families and communities. Children depend on them like they do the security of their favorite blanket.

12/21/2015 - Nancy Heinrich
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Finding Joy in the Holidays

Have you found joy? It is especially hard as the holiday season approaches, but occasionally I catch a glimpse.

12/21/2015 - Bunnie Jacquay
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Prepare Yourself for the Holidays

Sometimes old holiday rituals are comforting after a death, sometimes they're not. Continue them if they feel good to you; consider creating new ones.

12/21/2015 - Bonnie Carroll and Alan Wolfelt
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Holiday Emotions Only Your #tapsfam Understands

Whether you need to dig into the holidays or to completely disconnect from them, there’s no place that grief takes you that your #tapsfam doesn’t understand.

12/21/2015 - TAPS
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Seven Grief Strategies for the New Year

The new year provides a opportunity for us to be honest about the pain of our grief, and resolve in the months to come to do the necessary grief work.

12/21/2015 - Brad Stetson
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Unity is What Makes Us Stronger

My TAPS family helps me find my way to safe harbor by being the buoy that keeps me afloat in rough waters.

12/21/2015 - Amy Dozier
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Surviving the Holidays After Loss

I embrace the spirit of hope that comes from my faith and from the life I have been given.

12/15/2015 - Linda Ambard
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The Year of Getting Off My Couch

Getting off of the couch isn’t about exercise; it is about living life.

12/8/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Saturday Morning Message: Handling the Holidays

I appreciate the soothing nature of the flickering light of candles and their gentle glow during the shorter days of the holiday season.

11/28/2015 - Carol Lane
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Happy Thanksgiving?

Ever notice how holiday greetings begin with “happy”? Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! Even Fridays become Happy Friday!

11/25/2015 - Michele Hiester Marcum
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Holiday Survival Tips: Practical Advice to Help Anyone Coping with Grief

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Offers Tips for the Holidays.

11/25/2015 - TAPS
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27 Memories for 27 Years That Linger Bringing Joy to my Life

I am thankful that Phil taught me what it was to be loved well and how to love well.

11/23/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Care Group at Annapolis Horse Farm

Event Photos

11/21/2015 - TAPS Media
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Charleston Moms Retreat

Event Photos

11/18/2015 - TAPS Media
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Anxiety? What Anxiety?

Had anyone told me I would be struggling with anxiety some days that almost swallows me whole in one gulp, I would not have believed it.

11/18/2015 - Jenna Henderson
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How Proud You Were to Fight for Freedoms in This Land

Phil never took for granted the freedoms afforded to him by the citizenship he received to our country a week shy of his 18th birthday.

11/11/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Veterans Day

Since my husband’s death in 2010, Veterans Day has always been my hardest holiday.

11/11/2015 - Rachael Hill
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Game Day for Dad

It may be just a game, but to many Americans like my father, football is part of your household, part of how you connect with your family and friends, and part of you.

11/10/2015 - Tabitha Bonilla
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Happy Birthday Marines!

I never understood the family bond of the Marines until I attended the ball with Dre and watched the history unfold before my eyes.

11/10/2015 - Shanette Booker
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teams4taps Helps young Boy Meet NASCAR Star

In October, executives at Charlotte Motor Speedwaycreated an extraordinary opportunity for a TAPS family at the Bank of America 500 race.

11/4/2015 - TAPS
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Military Mentors Available for all Surviving Children

Through the TAPS Military Mentor Program, TAPS connects grieving military children with individual military mentors.

11/4/2015 - TAPS
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Ten

A decade. Ten very long years that have seemingly whizzed by on dragging feet since my brother left this earth.

11/3/2015 - Michele Hiester Marcum
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teams4taps Washington Redskins Game

Event Photos

11/1/2015 - TAPS Media
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HOLLOW-WEEN

It’s that spook-tacular time of year, with all things creepy and frightening lurking in the shadows and lunging from television ads.

10/31/2015 - Michele Hiester Marcum
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Celebrating Life Again on Halloween

Of the many obstacles we face after the loss of a loved one is how to tackle those extra challenging hallmark calendar dates.

10/29/2015 - Carla Stumpf-Patton
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Following In My Brother's Footsteps

I was 10 years old the first and last time I asked my brother, Sam, if I could go on a run with him.

10/25/2015 - Kelly Griffith
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Bearing the Responsibility

Responsibility can be an overwhelming thing, especially when you feel like it is all on you s a single parent.

10/22/2015 - Rachael Hill
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The Healing Power of Mutual Support

I have found that being a mentor is a continuous learning process. I have forged symbiotic relationships and we help each other through good and bad times.

10/16/2015 - Lynn Patton
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All In With TAPS at National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar

It's TAPS all the way. Hands down. No other group is like it. If you are a member or TAPS and have never attended an event...DO.

10/14/2015 - Misty Blum
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Miles for Kyle

Running a marathon for some is a sport; for others a life accomplishment. Me? I run for Kyle.

10/11/2015 - Maggie Osborn
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His Big Race

Running for Dre was more than just a great workout or a sport, it was a way of life.

10/11/2015 - Shanette Booker
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Believing in Heroes

I had the great pleasure of representing TAPS at the Points of Light National Day of Service and Remembrance held at the Washington Monument.

10/7/2015 - Marten Wallace
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Learning to Live Again

This weekend with other military widows brought me clarity. It is the place where I could see how far I have come and where I need to dare myself to go.

10/6/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

No retreat, no surrender, and I have to trust at some point the way ahead will become clearer and more comfortable.

10/1/2015 - Linda Ambard
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United Through Darkness, Shining Together

I was submerged in one of the Seven Wonders of the World with people who, without speaking, knew my heart and its pain.

9/29/2015 - Rachel Hunsell
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Close In Our Memories, Forever In Our Hearts

We will see your smiling face again! You are close in our memories and forever embedded in our hearts! Forever and a day!

9/28/2015 - Leila Murray
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A Gold Star Mother's Day Reflection

Gold Star Mother’s Day is recognized the last Sunday of the month of September. Each year I wear my pin to church as a remembrance of my son.

9/27/2015 - Carol Lane
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Zipped Into My Fraud Suit

The moment I received the news that my son was dead by suicide I changed. That was the moment I reached down and stepped into my Fraud Suit.

9/25/2015 - Marcia McCormick Tomlinson
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Among the Zebras

I keep this paper zebra heart on the desktop with my son's flag case, photos, and medals. TAPS is the family I found when I lost my son.

9/23/2015 - Judi Swenson
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TAPS Magazine - Fall 2015

Volume 21, Issue 3

9/21/2015 - TAPS Quarterly Magazine
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Healing and Hope After Suicide

Fortunately, hope is on the horizon with of the growing knowledge about grief and traumatic loss.

9/21/2015 - Iris Bolton
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Friends of TAPS: USAA

USAA joined TAPS in honoring families of the fallen by hosting USAA's annual Bowlathon in San Antonio, Texas.

9/21/2015 - TAPS
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Colorado Celebrity Classic to Benefit TAPS Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The tenth anniversary of an event that celebrates and remembers the lives of our fallen heroes and their families is an important milestone.

9/21/2015 - Christine Burtt
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New Relationships and Dating After Loss

How do you know when or if you are ready to explore romantic love again?

9/21/2015 - Amanda McPherson
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One Step at a Time

It wasn't a race to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but rather an exercise in continually putting one foot in front of the other on the six-day ascent.

9/21/2015 - Jennifer Freitas
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Healing Your Grieving Heart

TAPS is proud to announce our new book of comfort and care, written with love for all who are grieving a loss in the military.

9/21/2015 - Bonnie Carroll and Alan Wolfelt
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The Metaphors of Grief

Traveling the country to host Seminars, the TAPS team hears about the sense of freedom that comes from connecting with other people who understand.

9/21/2015 - Emily Munoz
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The Hike to Healing

The road to healing is far from over, but I now know I don't have to travel that road alone because of the love that was found in, of all places, Alaska.

9/21/2015 - Gavin Bradshaw
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Choose Forgiveness

My son devoted himself to his family and this world, beyond life and regret. And he forgave the man who was about to take his life.

9/21/2015 - Carlene Cross
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Learning to Swim

I let my children know that grief and sadness are parts of life, and love and hugs are the lifesavers that will help us float and eventually swim.

9/21/2015 - Tara Cameron
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Letters from TAPS: Navigating Men’s Grief

TAPS provides a space solely for men to explore our great American landscape while navigating together the unique terrain that is a man's grief.

9/21/2015 - Gabriel Rao
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Spotlight on Service: Katherine Castelo

“If someone is on the phone with me and needs me for three hours, I will make myself available for three hours.”

9/21/2015 - TAPS
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My Journey as a Survivor of Suicide Loss

My journey as a survivor of military suicide loss began July 18th, 2012, when our son Paul, a young 22-year old Petty Officer in the Coast Guard, took his own life.

9/21/2015 - Mike Aldapa
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Learning to Breathe Again at IslandWood

And I realized that somewhere along this journey called “Grief” I have learned to be still and breathe.

9/17/2015 - Elizabeth Culp
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Terrorism Cannot Take Any More From Me

It is going to hurt and I am going to want to quit, but I continue on because I simply cannot let terrorism have any more.

9/15/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Healing After Suicide

With every day that I live my life, I continually honor the memory of my loved one and in doing so, I am embracing all that I still do have to be grateful for.

9/14/2015 - Carla Stumpf-Patton
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9/11 - Some Days Remember You

There is great weight in the notion that there are only ever “days after 9/11.” There seems no way, in our lifetime at least, to ever go back to September 10th.

9/11/2015 - Claire Henline
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The Stigma of Suicide

It is time to drop the stigma of mental health and suicide death and begin to change our society.

9/10/2015 - Don Lipstein
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Salamander Equine Therapy

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9/1/2015 - TAPS Media
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The Choice to Forgive

In that choice to forgive, I am free to remember a man gone far too soon. I am free to enjoy living and not be consumed by my own negative judgments.

8/27/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Alaska Adult Children Retreat

Event Photos

8/13/2015 - TAPS Media
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Personal Journey to Becoming a Military Widow

As of the death of my husband, I became a soldier, single mother and military widow. Today, 34 years later, also a survivor!

8/11/2015 - Aissatou E. Sunjata
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July Was Not Kind

It battered my physical body and bruised my heart. The oppressive heat of summer bore down relentless and pressing and left me aching for a simpler time.

8/6/2015 - Linda Ambard
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A Visit With Vincent

I just stood there in silence, and in awe of these beautiful geese singing and talking to one another. I felt Vincent's energy in the air.

8/2/2015 - London Bell
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This Journey We Share

Thank you for being there for me in my darkest hours and in my brightest accomplishments.

7/29/2015 - Amy Dozier
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A letter to Jeff on his 5th Angelversary

It has now been five years since I watched you put on your boots, grab your coffee cup, and head off to work for the very last time.

7/28/2015 - Rachael Hill
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The Strength In Our Stars

In time, it is promised by those who have traveled this journey, there will be smiles again where tears were shed.

7/28/2015 - TAPS
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When Tragedy Comes Home

If I could tell them anything, it would be to say simply, "You are not alone. I too have shared your journey and am here to listen and walk yours now with you."

7/24/2015 - Karen Burris
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Tennessee Good Grief Campout

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7/23/2015 - TAPS Media
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The Ties that Bind Unseen

Phil’s legacy of duty, honor, commitment, faith, life, and love did not end with the death of his physical body, but the legacy grows and shines through my work.

7/22/2015 - Linda Ambard
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New England Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

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7/18/2015 - TAPS Media
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Remembering the Ride

I am so glad that I made that trip with him and had that special bonding time with my grandson.

7/16/2015 - Dana O'Brien
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In Between Days

I hope by encouraging others along our shared journey by volunteering with TAPS I've found a great way to honor my dad.

7/7/2015 - Noreen Doloughty
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Happy Birthday, America!

This Independence Day, America's Family wishes all of our fellow countrymen a happy and safe Fourth of July.

7/4/2015 - TAPS
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Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death

This book affirms that survivors’ grief is shaped by the unique circumstances of the death when a loved one is killed in the line of duty.

7/1/2015 - Bonnie Carroll and Alan Wolfelt
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Beyond My Fears

I am good at being the mute friend and the friend that never takes the risks, but I am learning that nothing ventured is nothing gained.

6/30/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Mid-Atlantic Good Grief Campout

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6/29/2015 - TAPS Media
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Finding The Sparkle Again

I became more present in each day and when I did that, the excitement and enjoyment of life started to return…and so did that sparkle.

6/26/2015 - Rachael Hill
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Explore Museums for Free This Summer

Participation in Blue Star Museums is one of our favorite ways to enjoy the summer season!

6/24/2015 - TAPS
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TAPS Magazine Summer 2015

Volume 21, Issue 2

6/21/2015 - TAPS Quarterly Magazine
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Spotlight on Service: Ruth Roberts

Her father's mantra was, “You can't just be good, you also have to do good.”

6/21/2015 - TAPS
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Letters from TAPS: Time to Retreat

TAPS Retreats are designed to bring survivors out of their comfort zone. We get to see just how strong we are, after losing someone important in our lives.

6/21/2015 - Erin Jacobson
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Seek Reconciliation, Not Resolution

How do you ever find your way out of the wilderness of your grief? You don't have to dwell there forever, do you?

6/21/2015 - Alan Wolfelt
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Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore

When our son died, "normal" flew out the window and hasn't returned. And because of its departure, leaving confusion, chaos, and disarray in its wake.

6/21/2015 - Betsy Beard
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Messages of Love

Over the years since my son’s death in 2004, I have received many messages and signs from him.

6/21/2015 - Claire Perkins
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Lean on Me

One of the single most important factors in healing from loss is having support. Sharing your loss can make the burden of grief easier to carry.

6/21/2015 - Jill LaMorie
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Intention Setting

How could I ever plan for a future without by brother here to motivate me in the tough moments and help me celebrate my victories?

6/21/2015 - Kelly Griffith
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Book Shelf: Men and Their Grief: 20 Years Later

Like many men, I suppose I didn't want to talk about or even watch other men discuss their grief.

6/21/2015 - Samuel Griffith
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A Child's Experience of Trauma

My son's experience has been unique. Will never knew his father, yet he has experienced the grief of absence, growing up without a father.

6/21/2015 - Lisa Hudson
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Tips for Father's Day

Today, have your moments, live the traditions, and celebrate the new life you're creating in memory of a wonderful man!

6/20/2015 - Amy Dozier
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Happy Father's Day

Maybe Father's Day is more about them than it is about us. In some way, maybe through our living they continue to live.

6/19/2015 - Terry Meyer
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Taking Back My Finish Line

Four years out, I can say that this journey is like a marathon. It still hurts. But by focusing on the next step it will eventually lead the finish line.

6/16/2015 - Linda Ambard
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He Lives

He lives with each breath I take and with each person who hears his story and learns of his legacy.

6/9/2015 - Shanette Booker
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Saturday Morning Message: Ways to Re-Energize

When we put forth emotional or physical energy, we need to take time for ourselves to relax and re-energize.

6/6/2015 - Carol Lane
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National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp

Event Photos

5/30/2015 - TAPS Media
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Saturday Morning Message: Memorial Day Weekend

Wherever you chose to spend this Memorial Day, you are in the right place and the thoughts of your TAPS family are with you.

5/23/2015 - Carol Lane
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Who is Memorial Day For?

So who is Memorial Day for? It's for every one of us who needs to remember and for those of us who will never forget.

5/21/2015 - Bonnie Carroll
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Saturday Morning Message: Positive Lessons Learned

Lighthouses have special meaning for me. They light the way for those encountering difficulties while traveling.

5/16/2015 - Carol Lane
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Saturday Morning Message: Helping Extended Family

a grandparent's grief being unique as they suffer for both their grandchild as well as their child.

5/2/2015 - Carol Lane
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The Dance

I could physically feel her presence there, and I know that those tickets were a gift from her.

4/28/2015 - Ashlynne Haycock
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Forgiveness

Forgiveness isn't something I can see happening in one decision. There isn't just one thing I can do to fully forgive. It is simply a process.

4/27/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Saturday Morning Message: Making Friends at a TAPS Event

Coming to a TAPS event alone can make us wonder how "we will fit in, how we will be treated, and what the event will be like".

4/4/2015 - Carol Lane
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Saturday Morning Message: Thoughts on the Journey

When tragedy happens and deep thought is needed, I go to my favorite places, the beach or the garden. These spots help quiet my mind.

3/28/2015 - Carol Lane
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We All Want 'What We Ain't Got'

Jeff continues to be a part of our lives because as the song says, a love like that isn’t easily forgotten.

3/27/2015 - Rachael Hill
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Love, Loss, and Legacy

After his son committed suicide, Don Lipstein discovered TAPS. He was so impressed he became a TAPS Peer Mentor!

3/21/2015 - Don Lipstein
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TAPS Magazine Spring 2015

Volume 21, Issue 1

3/21/2015 - TAPS Quarterly Magazine
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My Experience of Trauma

There is nothing that can prepare you for a sudden, traumatic death. But there are things you can do afterward to help yourself cope better.

3/21/2015 - Lisa Hudson
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Vacations, Who Needs ‘Em?

Whether you are just starting out on your grief journey or are years past the date of the death, attending TAPS events may be just what you need this year.

3/21/2015 - Betsy Beard
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Spotlight on Service: Maria Elena Bancroft

Recuerda el amor, Celebra la vida. Comparte el viaje. Remember the love. Celebrate the life. Share the journey.

3/21/2015 - TAPS
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Letters from TAPS: Find Healing This Spring

Your TAPS family is available to you each day of the year. Through many TAPS resources and events, we find nourishment for our souls that sustain us.

3/21/2015 - Ellen Andrews
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Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving

This article will guide you in ways to turn your concern for the grandparents grief into positive action.

3/21/2015 - Alan Wolfelt
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Book Shelf: Healing a Grandparent’s Grieving Heart

A grandparent's loss packs a double whammy. There is grief for your grandchild who died and grief for your child's devastating loss.

3/21/2015 - Carol Flack
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Eating to Live or Living to Eat?

Eating a variety of foods is essential to life. In other words, we need to eat to live. Food tips to consider as you navigate your own individual grief journey.

3/21/2015 - Victoria Hawk
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Learning to Love Again

This Valentine's Day, my wish for you is love. Love your past. Love your story-the parts you hate and wished never happened, the parts you're still writing.

3/13/2015 - Amy Dozier
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Saturday Morning Message: Uplifting Songs

This beautiful mountain scene is one chosen while I listened to the uplifting songs which survivors sent in answer to last week's question.

3/7/2015 - Carol Lane
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Kicking Off Our 21st Year - TAPS 2015 Winter in Review

It has been a cold winter here, but much to warm our hearts this past month as TAPS geared up for our 21st year of caring for the families of America’s fallen heroes.

3/3/2015 - TAPS
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Today Is My Day

I act on the dreams that I have the power to achieve. I am no longer the broken winged bird that cannot fly. Someday is today.

3/3/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Military Widow Finds Comfort and Therapy in Vacationing

Surviving spouse, Sarah Greene shares how she learned the therapeutic effect taking vacations could have after losing her husband.

3/2/2015 - Sarah Greene
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The Myth of Divorce Following the Death of a Child

Survivor mom, Betsy Beard shares the "normal" part of the fog of grief and how to deal with it in a positive light so you can eventually move on.

3/1/2015 - Stephanie Frogge
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Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Sibling survivor, Kat Stanley shares her touching story about how she continued her wedding plans even though her military brother had just died.

3/1/2015 - Kat Stanley and Ester Allgower
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Is Suicide a Choice?

Kim Ruocco shares how a military widow copes with a spousal suicide and how to answer the questions that remain.

3/1/2015 - Kim Ruocco
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Working Through the Hard Times

I know that the work is worth it in order to continue living the way I want to live, which is to simply be happy.

2/24/2015 - Rachael Hill
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It's a Title, Not a Life Sentence

I am a widow. It's not who I am; it is what I am, and I am also a proud mother, a great sister, wonderful friend, and still the wife of the late Andre Booker.

2/17/2015 - Shanette Booker
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Making Choices

Happiness is a choice. It isn't always easy to make that choice and certainly life is not always fair, but looking for contentment is easier than enduring a pity party.

1/27/2015 - Linda Ambard
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Coping with Guilt

Guilt. Regret. Sorrow. They all have their place. But so do joy, humor, and forgiveness.

1/20/2015 - Michele Hiester Marcum
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I'm All About That Bass

It’s all about that attitude. While I cannot deny that I still have pity parties and days that I break down in tears, but every day I make the choice to be happy.

1/13/2015 - Linda Ambard