Sharing the Journey One Step at a Time

Author: Peggy Scallorn

On January 2, 2012 my worst fear came true. I lost my beloved 18 year old Air Force son to suicide. Nothing in life could have prepared me for this devastation. I felt very alone in my grief and found it extremely difficult to function in normal daily activities. I was so consumed by my grief; however, from the beginning, I made it clear to others around me that I would not let my son's death be in vain. I knew that I had to do something positive with this horrible experience in my life.

TAPS family

 I connected with TAPS about four months into my grief journey. In the beginning, it was me pouring my heart out to others. As time went on though, I found myself able to reach out to other newly bereaved survivors and lend support and hope to them. It sparked a huge interest in me. I knew I wanted to take the course to become a TAPS Peer Mentor and be part of something bigger than myself.

This past November, while attending the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar in Colorado, my husband and I participated in the Peer Mentor Training. The class was well instructed, and I felt greatly supported in this new chapter of my life. Soon after the class I was matched up with my first mentee. While I was nervous at first, I realized how easily it was to talk to someone with a similar story, and through time we have become friends. I now have a second mentee, and she is very dear to me. My heart feels full by helping others. I thought by doing this that it would consume a lot of time but that is quite the contrary.

Helping others on their grief journey has also allowed myself to better understand my own grief. It is like you are the teacher one moment, and then become the student the next moment. We learn from one other during this process. Having that kind of relationship in which we have the same commonality of our loved one's death is comforting. In the "real" world, we may not have anyone to talk to who can truly understand our loss and our pain. We may be surrounded by others who feel uncomfortable when we speak our loved one's name or recall precious memories that are so dear to us. However, this is why the TAPS Peer Mentor Program works so well. It gives us the opportunity to speak our loved ones' names and share special memories in a safe environment.

 If you have not looked into becoming a TAPS Peer Mentor, I urge you to do so. It is an amazing program which allows you to help and support others in their grief journey. It also helps you through your journey.