TAPS is Your Home for the Holidays

To Our TAPS Family,

As we move into the holiday season, always remember you have your TAPS Family to lean on.

TAPS is your home for the holidays, your soft landing and safe space, an organization created to help you remember the love, celebrate the life and share the journey together.

 

 

We are here for you now and always, and we hope you will join us with a cup of warm cocoa and a cozy blanket, for our virtual programs at the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing, our Virtual Chats, our TAPS Care Groups, our TAPS Togethers and all the ways we come together. Remember also to reach out to your TAPS Peer Mentor or call our TAPS National Military Survivor Helpline, there for you 24/7. Support, encouragement, and love are always close by.

Whether this is your first holiday without your loved one, or it has been many years, we remember and honor the precious life lived. We cherish traditions and create new memories of those we love, and we take time to quietly honor the gifts they have given us.

Together we have come through a challenging time. We have done what families do - support and care for each other. We have shared the gifts of hope and kindness with each other, we have told our loved one's stories, and in that sharing we have found strength and comfort.

With love and hope,

Bonnie Carroll
TAPS President and Founder

2021 Winter Magazine Cover

TAPS Magazine Winter 2021

We hope you will feel the hug we are sending you and find support in the resources included in the Winter Issue of the TAPS Magazine.

Navigating the Holidays

 

Faces of TAPS


First Christmas

Christmas stocking and folded flag

 

"Everyone grieves differently. The first Christmas after my dad's death, my mom put up stockings for only her, my brother, and me. It caught me off guard to walk in to my parents' home and see just three stockings for the first time in my life. It was too painful though she said to see four stockings when we were now only three. I couldn't argue someone else's hurt and yet it hurt me to see only three. It was too harsh a reminder our world was forever changed. My aunt suggested I hang a stocking for my dad in my own place. So I did. It helped. And years later it still hangs every Christmas in my home where the traditions he in part shaped still, 'help to make the season bright.'"

 

First Christmas Tree

Christmas tree

 

"Basking in the glow of my first little tree has brought me so much peace this season. I can't help but think of my daddy who died when I was just ten years old. He was Jewish, very proud of his faith, and a terrific man. Each holiday season he would help me decorate our Christmas tree and shared how happy it made him to honor my faith. I count myself lucky that I enjoyed Christmas and Hanukkuh as a child. This season I honor all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and while basking in the glow of my little tree, will also be basking in the glow of the precious memories shared with me by my TAPS family. May they be ever remembered."

 

Final Gift

Emmy and her daddy doll

 

"On December 25, 2007 while in Iraq, Jon called to wish us Merry Christmas and assured us that our presents would get to us within a few short weeks. Days later, after the first of the new year, he was killed by an IED. When the package of presents finally arrived, only one of the gifts inside mattered; the daddy doll. Each year as the holiday season approaches, we give money to children in memory of Jon so that they might understand the joy of paying it forward. They shop for families in need, wrapping and delivering gifts to children who have nothing. For us, it's a way to see his heroism live on through others. Because of this, these gifts he gave will last a lifetime."

 

Stories of Love

infant

 

"I don't really have memories of my dad. He died in the war after Christmas when I was a baby. But at the holidays, I like to go spend time with my grandparents because they knew my dad best. They tell me silly stories about him and give me toys that were his, and pictures of when he was younger. Even though I didn't know my dad, I feel connected to him through stories of love and even silliness because of the times I've spent with his family."