Connection from the Comfort of Home
Coffee and your favorite comfy chair. Warm – cozy – home. The warm embrace of your TAPS family is as close as your living room, your kitchen table or your front porch. Right where you are and just a click away.
Over the past few months, it has been more important than ever to find safe ways to stay in touch. We find strength in knowing we are connected to those who understand our journey, our heartache, our pride, our hope.
TAPS has always found ways to keep military survivors in touch using available technology, creating safe spaces for sharing and supporting. Through the TAPS Online Community, survivors have been connecting virtually for over 20 years. As technology has progressed and the survivor population has grown – so has the virtual community at TAPS.
From a single weekly text-based chat, our “virtual living room” has grown to offer video- and text-based chats along with peer group sites for parents, adult children, men, spouses and significant others, survivors of suicide loss, siblings, peer mentors and more.
With this online presence well established, TAPS was able to quickly enhance the Online Community and adapt other programs to keep survivors connected as-stay-home mandates were established with the COVID-19 outbreak. Our traditional in-person local Care Groups and TAPS Togethers went online, allowing vital interactions to continue— and new ones to form. We have been able to stay together and stay in touch – even while we have had to stay at home.
Many survivors tried the Online Community for the first time while others visited more frequently, finding a reliable source of comfort and understanding with our TAPS family. With gratitude, we draw strength from each other in the face of challenges, we support one another as we navigate each day, and we celebrate the love, companionship and hope we have been fortunate enough to find with our fellow survivors.
“I joined my first chat by accident. I clicked on the icon, thinking it would just bring me to information and got a surprise when I entered a live chat! I would have left right away, but before I could, someone greeted me by name. The next thing I knew, I had been welcomed by name by everyone! I didn't stay long the first night; just long enough to introduce myself and share I'd lost my brother to suicide. The next morning, I found an email waiting from one of the chat moderators, telling me she was glad I had stopped by and looked forward to hearing more about my brother Kenny and she hoped to see me soon. I was still very new in my grief at the time, and desperately looking for connections to help me stop feeling so isolated and alone. I returned to the chat the next week and started joining in every week. Over time, this group became some of my closest friends. I love knowing that every Tuesday night, I have this break from life where I can be with my TAPS family who just gets how I feel and lets me talk whenever I need to.”
Rachel Eiting, Surviving Sister of Gunnery Sergeant Kenneth Eiting, U.S. Marine Corps
“One night, I pushed myself to get on the TAPS text chat. In the midst of grief, it was very overwhelming at first, but everyone on the chat welcomed me wholeheartedly. Gradually, it began to feel just like conversations with friends sitting around my dining room table sipping coffee. I have met some of my fellow chatters at seminars. It is like meeting up with old friends. The chats keep me going, get me through, lift me up, and reassure me that I am not alone.”
Sandra Stone, Surviving Mother of Staff Sergeant Joshua Stone, U.S. Marine Corps
Warmth – Comfort – Home. That is your TAPS family. You are never alone. Staying connected, sharing virtual hugs. Join the TAPS Online Community anytime.