My TAPS Journey
Author: Amanda Klager
I am so grateful for TAPS and all the amazing people who have become a big part of my life and family since my brother Adam passed away. Deb Lucey, Director of Operations, Survivor Services, reached out to me. I was very hesitant. I knew there was nothing anyone could do that would bring him back.
Deb did not give up on me. She continued to reach out and check in on me. She told me she was a surviving sister herself. She told me she knew exactly what I was going through and she understood my pain. That was the first time since I lost my little brother I felt like I could relate to anyone.
She told me I wasn’t alone. She told me there are other surviving sisters who understand and explained to me about the Peer Mentor program. She told me about TAPS Helpline and that there is someone always there for you.
The Helpline and the Peer Mentor program saved my life.
The late nights I would call and there was always someone there for me. Claire Hunter of the Peer Mentor team matched me with my Peer Mentor, Carly, who has been my best friend. She will stay on the phone as long as I need. She listens and is able to walk with me through this journey of grief. All I needed was to be around people who understood my pain.
A year and a half after I lost Adam, I lost my boyfriend, Hugh Brown. I joined the online chats, where I met Melinda Kane, Kellie Hazlett, Carol Lane, Kim Suggs and Ashley Rao, the strongest women I know. They all are here for me. They have helped me get through really rough times. They each get me in different ways. They each have given me tools that have helped along this journey.
When Adam passed away, my father was really struggling and the only person he confided in was me. I turned to my amazing TAPS family. I had my dad join the men’s online chat with Don Lipstein. Don called my dad and he has helped both of us in so many ways.
These amazing people are my family and I could never thank them enough. Each has helped me become the Peer Mentor I am today. I am able to give back and I do it in honor of my brother and boyfriend.
This amazing organization saved my life. I don’t know where or who I would be if it wasn’t for TAPS.
Amanda Klager is the Surviving Sister of Army Spc. Adam Klager and the Surviving Girlfriend of Army Sgt. 1st Class Hugh Brown.