Peace and Purpose
Author: Kelly Griffith
I love running in the evenings, especially during the fall when the sun starts to set just a little bit earlier. After a long day I relish in the opportunity to disconnect from my phone and get outside. As the colors dance across the sky in the last rays of sunlight, I feel more connected to nature, my faith and myself. This golden hour reminds me of the peace I experienced in knowing I wasn’t alone on this journey.
There is this moment when you realize someone else understands – your knees buckle a little. You let out a breath you didn’t even know you were holding. You allow yourself just to be held up by another survivor of loss.
Coming to TAPS, I was able to be comforted, knowing we all have experienced a loss so uniquely our own. And that’s what helped me find purpose. We can, indeed, find purpose in just allowing ourselves to be held. In that moment the hurt doesn’t go away, but we recognize that someone else has walked this path and we can survive the pain. Knowing we are part of a family – albeit one we never wanted to join, but one we are so glad exists – is the foundation of our ability to find purpose.
I found purpose in becoming a peer mentor. It had been more than a year and a half since my brother Sam died, and I felt like I was able to stand up a little on my own feet. I had started to hold myself up and stay connected to other surviving loved ones in other ways. I didn’t need to talk only about my own loss; I wanted to hear about others’ as well.
I knew I wanted the ability to turn around and offer a helping hand to others who had their whole world change in an instant like mine did. But what I got was completely unexpected. I’ve seen other surviving family members move mountains on their own grief journey. They constantly inspire me with their stories of hope and their memories of the most amazing people.
Despite being in a helping role myself, I have received so much from peer mentoring that has helped my own path. I’ve grown in my compassion for others. I’ve become a better listener. I’ve learned that no matter the circumstances of the death, our loved ones were and always will be incredible people; they’ve made a tremendous impact on our lives and our hearts, and we are forever changed.
If you would like to be part of this vital, caring outreach, consider becoming a TAPS Peer Mentor. Visit taps.org/peermentors to learn more.
Are you looking to make that connection and have someone walk beside you on your journey? Find out how to request a peer mentor at taps.org/peermentors. The caring family of surviving military loved ones at TAPS is here for you.
From the pen of…
Kelly Griffith is the TAPS Magazine Editor and Manager of Internal Communications and the surviving sister of Marine Corps Maj. Samuel Griffith. Kelly's background in journalism and the profound impact of Sam's life and service enable her to share the compassion and care of TAPS through writing.