TAPS Retreats Loss
A place to relax and heal
“I love going to the sibling retreat. I like sharing stories with other siblings; I can connect with them. It helps me deal with my grief and it makes my life easier, to talk about my feelings.”
“I cannot tell you how much the widow retreat helped me. I was not sure of what to expect, but left with more than I could ever want. To meet other women like me, to talk with them and hear their stories, might have been the best part of it all.”
Being surrounded by the beauty of nature can instill calmness and peace. It provides us an opportunity to breathe deeply and discover new wonders about the world, others, and ourselves. Sharing these experiences with others gives us a sense of community, forging connections that last a lifetime. Finding this calmness and connection is especially important when our hearts are grieving the loss of a loved one.
This type of experience is just what TAPS had in mind a few years ago when we developed a new outreach program of retreats for survivors. The schedule of retreats is now expanding, giving survivors more opportunities to join together for fellowship.
Whereas the TAPS regional seminars are more structured with grief workshops and support groups, retreats offer a three to four day adventure that is a combination of the healing element of nature along with activities that provide a safe place to explore grief, connect with others, and have fun!
Previous retreats have found sibling survivors enjoying a day at a cattle ranch in Nevada and exploring Las Vegas; widows, widowers and significant others enjoying the spectacular scenery of Alaska while attending the historic Iditarod Dog Sled Race; and parents enjoying time together under the stars in Fort Worth, Texas.
But retreats are more than simply engaging in outdoor activities; they allow survivors to connect with others on a parallel journey. As explained by TAPS Special Events and Communications Director Kyle Harper, “It’s okay to smile and it’s okay to laugh. It is even okay to have fun!”
This year our goal is to host nine retreats: three for siblings; three for surviving spouses, fiancées and significant others; and three for parents. Retreats will vary by location as well as by activities offered, and each retreat will also include an element of memorialization. For example, last year’s retreat in Alaska allowed TAPS survivors to participate in a 5K race in honor of their loved ones. Future retreats will offer similar activities, providing a special time of remembrance to celebrate the lives of our special loved ones.
Thanks to generous donor support, TAPS will be able to pay the costs of lodging, activities, and selected meals at our retreat events. Participants need only to provide transportation to and from the event as well as one meal per day.
The nature of the retreat activities results in limited space being available; only 40 to 60 survivors will be able to attend each event. Because the purpose of a retreat is to help bereaved survivors focus on their own healing journeys, away from the demands of childcare, jobs, schoolwork, and other needs, retreats are not open to additional family members. Childcare will not be provided.
Registration alerts for the retreats will be announced by email. Registration will be first come, first served. Preference for each event in 2012 will be given to those who have not yet attended a retreat this year.
This is a wonderful opportunity for spending time with your TAPS family, sharing an experience and creating memories that will find a special place in your heart. We walk along this journey together, lifting each other up, sharing our time and our thoughts, and honoring the legacy of our heroes. We warmly invite you to take an active part in our adventures!