Author: Audri Beugelsdijk
Rolling into a new year tends to stir a heart to contemplate new beginnings. We consider all the history of our past and ponder what lay ahead. The last couple years have certainly been a difficult challenge for us all and we look forward to better times. Before we move on too quickly, it's important to consider one lesson isolation has taught us - we need each other.
The TAPS family has always said “we are stronger together” and it is true. Going it alone at the most difficult times of our lives puts more strain on us, robbing us of encouragement that could soften the journey. We draw strength from one another, sharing the burdens of our hearts, and in doing so, begin to believe we can make it through - and hope is born.
We begin to expect with confidence that our days will get easier, in part because we see others overcoming similar circumstances and they are still standing and striving. That model of survival and resiliency is at the heart of TAPS. It is a gift that we receive and what we each hope to someday give away - belief that we each will endure.
Hope is powerful and reciprocal. We receive it and we ultimately reach a point where we can give it as well. Often these are happening at the same time as we grow in relationship with one another. When you are down in the throes of grief, there is no better person to have as your company than someone who has also navigated these paths. This is true in life and in loss. TAPS Peer Mentors offer you the healing hand of friendship, bearing witness and encouraging you along the way. And they receive a beautiful gift in return, as they search for meaning after loss and find purpose through lifting others up.
As you move into another year, know that sharing your story and your struggles allows others to join with you in a way that deepens our bonds as a family of survivors. Perhaps you are new to your loss and would like companionship to keep you company as you heal. If you would like to connect with a Peer Mentor, we can help find the right person.
Maybe you are feeling stronger now and are ready to “pay it forward” by supporting another person with the same support you have received. If you have reached a point where you are ready to explore becoming a Peer Mentor, we are ready to talk with you about how this can be a healing part of your journey as well.
Wherever you find yourself at this moment, you are a vital part of the TAPS family and we invite you to connect with us in a deeper way. Together we will step into another new year, keeping hope alive.
Photo: TAPS Archives
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