Peer Mentoring: The Next Step
Have you ever wondered, “Where do I go from here?” I was there four years ago, 18 months after my oldest son, Joshua, died by suicide. “What am I supposed to do with the lessons I have learned along this journey?” I really wanted to find a way to honor his life of service, but I didn’t have to look too far. I was already connecting with other survivors through TAPS. Many of them, I spoke to on a regular basis.
The TAPS Peer Mentor Program offered me that next step I was in search of. I already enjoyed listening to other survivors share their loved ones through their heartfelt stories. This was what brought me joy — and fear at the same time. They trusted me and knew I was safe in sharing their deepest thoughts. My fear came from not wanting to instill any more trauma for them by words or actions I may have chosen.
Once I joined the program and became trained as a TAPS Peer Mentor, I gained the confidence that I could be a good source of support for others newer in their grief journey. What better way to honor my son’s service than to be there for others who have dealt with the same tragedy that I had to live through. I became a guiding light with a warranty, which TAPS stands beside.
Some say that a military death from any cause can, and often does, create post-traumatic stress for the survivors left behind. TAPS finds many valuable ways to turn this stress into growth. Over the past four years that I have been involved with the Peer Mentor Program, I have been convinced that there is no better way to experience post-traumatic growth than taking this step in your journey to be the light for others’ darkness.
If you think you are ready to give back and are looking for the next positive step forward in your journey, please consider becoming a TAPS Peer Mentor. Visit www.taps.org/BecomeAPeerMentor to learn more.