A Little Easier....

Author: Dayna Wood

dayna and KoPeople often ask me where I am in the grieving process. The truth is that I don’t actually know how to answer that question. Some moments are good, others mediocre and lots of them are still just plain terrible. As so many of you know, it can change every hour, minute or second.  

With that in mind, I truly believe that the best piece of advice I’ve received came from a good friend that lost her mother a few years ago. She told me that as hard as it is, I have to let myself feel everything. I didn’t stop to really think about her words at the time, but looking back now, I see exactly what she meant. There were so many times that I tried to avoid my emotions or suppress my thoughts. She was encouraging me to embrace every emotion, and tackle each one head on.

To that end, I truly believe having an amazing support system has helped meet each bout of sadness, and TAPS has offered me comfort in a way that I never thought possible. In fact, for any of you that are contemplating about whether or not to go to the TAPS National Survivor Seminar for the first time, please do. 

My first time at the seminar was last year. I was living in Arlington, Virginia to be close to the cemetery, and my mom encouraged me to attend. I debated for days and days about whether I was capable of going to such an event on my own. In the end, I somehow mustered up the courage to go, and I’m so thankful that I did.

Dayna and FriendsTo be completely honest, I was beyond terrified to walk into a room full of two thousand people without knowing a single one. I was so nervous that I took a seat along the wall and contemplated leaving, but then something amazing happened. As Darcie Sims began to talk, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I started sobbing and the woman next to me reached over and put her arm around me. It was this simple gesture that changed the course of my day, and really, my life. In fact, she comforted me so much that I no longer felt like running for the door and heading home, and because I stayed, I met some amazing people that have changed my life for the better.

All in all, I truly believe that Ko was there with me that day and gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and connect with others that understand what it’s like to lose a loved one in the military. I miss Ko every second of every day and I know that it’s never going to change, but I’m extremely grateful to TAPS for making some of my worst moments a little easier.