Letters from TAPS: Find Healing This Spring

Author: Ellen Andrews

Dear TAPS Family,

Traditionally the New Year brings thoughts of renewal. A time to look forward with renewed energy, goals, and hopes. We reflect on the things and people that impacted our lives. We move through the change of seasons, coming out of the winter and into the blossom of spring.

Ellen Andrews

The changing seasons can also be reflective of the grief journey and the fellow survivors we find through TAPS. Initially our grief can feel cold, heavy, and isolating, just like winter. We try and find protective cover to insulate us from the pain. We look toward a thaw, a warming of the world that surrounds us. With each step, we make discoveries that assist us through the winter. We find others who have the shared experience of loss. They are companions to help us through. They stay with us, sharing our winter, leading us toward the spring.

The thaw does come.  Grief is no longer a heavy cloak we wear, weighing us down. The same caring, loving people who were with us in the winter of our grief continue with us to the spring when our hearts become lighter and our eyes can turn toward hope and again take in the beauty of the world around us.

Spring brings new opportunities to share and connect with our special TAPS family. We look back on 2014 with grateful hearts as we marked twenty years of TAPS and created memories while sharing adventures in hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more. We connected in groups, sharing our experiences, thoughts, and hopes.

As we move into 2015, we look forward with hope and strength. Our journey will continue to take us in new directions and we will travel this path together. We look forward to sharing information and stories and coming together to honor our loved ones.

TAPS has a full schedule of seminars, retreats, and other events that will bring us to places of adventure and scenic beauty. These events will allow us to experience the wonders of the world around us, challenge us physically, and help us rediscover ourselves. They will provide foundations for moving forward and reconnecting with our surroundings while finding our new path.

Your TAPS family is available to you each day of the year. Through attending events, sharing on our online forums, communicating with our peers, and reading the informative and powerful stories in each issue of TAPS Magazine, we find nourishment for our souls that will sustain us through the year.

There will be new additions to our family this year. Our hearts will be present for them, letting them know they are not alone and there is a place of solace and warmth to sustain them through their winter. We will use our experience, compassion, and understanding to be their companions toward the lightness of spring. This is the circle of love that is TAPS.

While our family continues to grow and the reason for that growth weighs heavy on our hearts, we are grateful that we can join the company of others, find resources, learn coping skills, and develop enduring relationships. These relationships and the things we learn together provide the foundation for healing. We build upon that foundation and move forward, growing, blossoming, and revealing the beauty of who we are as we carry forward the light of our loved ones.  

Together we will share the journey.

We are family. 

With warmth and care, 

Ellen Andrews
Casualty Affairs Liaison and Online Care Coordinator