Write On: How Sharing Your Story with TAPS Can Bring Healing to You and Fellow Survivors

Author: TAPS

"[Storytelling] is, in and of itself, a coping skill we can use to heal our hearts." ~ Rachel Hunsell, surviving sister of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal J. Kyle Price, and TAPS Program Manager, Outdoor Engagement

Losing a loved one requires facing a full spectrum of emotions, some familiar, some otherwise foreign, all of them powerful and unpredictable. Whether or not you choose to put your experience in writing, your loss and how it impacted you — how it still impacts you is your story to tell, and only your story to tell. No one else lived it just as you did, no one knows better than you what loss has done to your head, your heart, your home, or your future. 

Writing, in whatever form comes naturally to you — whether a personal journal or blog, a published article, or even a book — can be a path that leads to peace. Writing can give you the opportunity to lasso the swirling emotions of loss and organize them on paper. Simply writing down exactly how you feel can help you reflect on your loved one’s life and the memories you shared together. It can lighten the emotional weight you carry daily, making room for reflection.

Survivor writing

Survivor writing


How can I get started sharing my Story?

If you are new to writing, the idea of putting your thoughts on paper might seem daunting. But, let the expectations fall away. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or even a regular writing schedule, just write. Even if it seems like total nonsense, just write. If, after writing, you feel like you’ve just had a talk with a good friend and gotten something off your chest, it’s working. Keep it up. 

If and when you decide you want to share your story, TAPS can help. We publish survivors’ stories in our quarterly publication — TAPS Magazine, in our blog, and we also publish survivors’ words in our recurring magazine column, Dear TAPS. You don’t need to have writing experience to send in your work, you just need to submit your story on the TAPS website via the Share Your Story page or through an email to editor@taps.org. If your story is a good fit for the survivor audience, a member of the TAPS Communications team will work with you to edit and prepare your piece to be published on one of our platforms.  

Let TAPS help you connect your story to your fellow survivors. Your words might be the comfort and inspiration someone needs on a hard day. Your words might be exactly what someone needs to read to feel understood. Your words might become someone else’s guide through their own grief. 

For writing and tone inspiration, browse the stories submitted by your fellow survivors on the Our Stories page. Just remember that the story you submit will be your own, in your voice, about your loved one and your life after loss. It can be about a specific memory or experience with TAPS or something broader. Either way, it will be unique to you, your fallen hero, and your experience. 

We welcome the opportunity to read your story and are honored to help you share it.