We're all in this together
TAPS was founded in 1994 to provide comfort, care and resources to all those grieving the death of a military loved one. For the last two decades, this country has supported us as we have sustained family separations, wounds and loss as a result of our service to the country during times of war.
Today we turn our attention to you - our fellow citizens who have been affected by isolation, fear and loss associated with the pain of a mounting pandemic that has caused over 100,000 deaths, and the devastating impacts related to social injustice and unrest in our society. You Are Not Alone – We’re All in This Together.
We invite you to check back often and explore this resource page that we’ve created to assist you. As survivors of military death, we are no strangers to isolation, fear and loss; we have many lessons learned and tools for coping. We have the advice of experts from our Advisory Board that we will share with you and other resources we’ve discovered over nearly three decades.
Family and Community are Our Bedrock.
We draw strength from others and mutually lift one another up. The military taught us that to survive we have to get comfortable embracing a new family, over and over. Each of us is called to create for ourselves the family and community we need and be available for one another. We are capable of building strong communities, like the TAPS family.
Resilience is Within Us.
We shall endure because we have endured. Military life has shown us that we can rise to new challenges. Moving, changing schools, coping with deployments, being far away from family, and a myriad of other challenges present opportunities to overcome. We are capable of great resilience.
We Embrace Perseverance.
Grief is a marathon, not a sprint. We pace ourselves because we know the journey is long. We have found the water stations and other resources along our path that refresh us and we push on. We persevere and run our race in order to be the living legacy of our loved ones who have passed.
We Understand Loss.
The great C.S. Lewis said, "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." The military has taught us to make friends with fear and uncomfortable situations, to move toward the unknown until it is known. We move toward the grief - to befriend it, to make it known, and bring healing - together.
We are Thankful for the Little While.
The military life has taught us to appreciate every moment - not knowing when we will be called to endure long deployments or loss. We strive to cultivate a heart of gratitude for the time we have together. It will never be enough, but we are thankful for the little while.
to access some of our important resources created to assist you as we all navigate this difficult time.
Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death
When a loved one dies in the military, this guidebook provides a precious resource offering comfort, hope and healing with gentle suggestions and coping strategies. Order your copy today!
Coping During this COVID-19 Crisis See More
Grief can bring feelings of loneliness, and today’s current reality may be adding to that feeling of isolation.
Learn how to improve you window of tolerance when faced with uncertainty.
Find suggestions on how to cope emotionally to overcome feelings of anxiety, worry and fear.
Learn some positive coping skills to soften the emotional impact of social isolation during this time.
Grief and Loss See More
Find safe, practical ways to explore, grow through, and move beyond the trauma that inevitably comes with the loss of those we love.
Explore the importance of gratitude and methods to incorporate it into our daily lives.
Learn how to balance the different styles individuals use for coping with grief and stress.
Explore communicating in ways that are truthful, authentic, and productive; that strengthen feelings of belonging and connection.
Health and Wellness See More
Learn how to reverse the harmful effects of grief and stress using evidence based, easy-to-do meditation practices.
Receive practical guidance for promoting health. Discover opportunities for mobilizing your capacity for self-healing.
Get helpful ideas and tips to promote better sleep and other relaxation techniques.
Learn new coping skills to maintain mental health and wellness during changes in the family dynamics.
Parenting and Youth See More
Find guidance for coping, healing, and reimaging life unique to widowed parents and their children.
Learn some foundational "dos" and "don'ts" for reassuring children.
Learn how to be present in the moment and find positive ways to cope.
Article by the National Association of School Psychologists on reassuring children that they are okay.
Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Postvention See More
Listen to a conversation on the impact that the coronavirus has on mental health and suicidality.
Learn coping skills to help with your grief from survivors who lost their loved ones to suicide.
Read a selection of information sheets on mental health and coping with the effects of COVID-19.
Robert Delaney is a passionate leader with more than 25 years in professional sports and a background in training and mentoring on the unique brand of leadership, communication, resilience and diligence required in this demanding and inspiring field. He has an accomplished career as one of the NBA's highest-rated crew chiefs and founder of two schools/academies that train officials for high-integrity roles within the NBA, WNBA and college basketball. He has a former career as a New Jersey State Trooper that led to the conviction of more than 30 mafia criminals. Robert has been featured on HBO's Real Sports, ESPN, ABC and other media sources.
Read articles shared by Robert Delaney by Medical Experts:
Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is an author and educator on the topic of healing in grief. He is a member of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Board of Advisors and he serves as Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. He is also on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Wolfelt has written many compassionate, best-selling books designed to help people mourn well so they can continue to love and live well, including Healing Your Grieving Heart After A Military Death, co-authored with TAPS. Visit the Center for Loss website to learn more about the natural and necessary process of grief and mourning.
Read articles from Dr. Wolfelt:
Create your free, personal, protected website to easily share updates and receive support and encouragement from your community.
Helpful guidance on grief, funerals and caring for those at the end of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Experience your own unique grief
While many people are experiencing COVID-related loss, no one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, don’t allow them to tell what you should or should not be feeling.
Talk about the death and your grief
Talking about the death and your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about what happened. If at times you don’t feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.
Feel a multitude of emotions
Shock, disbelief, confusion, anger, fear, and guilt are just a few of the feelings you might experience as part of your grief journey. Others may tell you that some of your feelings are wrong or not helpful. Don't take these judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition.
Be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits
Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into doing things you don't feel ready to do.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but it is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.
Make use of ritual
Death rituals such as funerals not only help you truly acknowledge a death and express your necessary feelings, but they also bring friends and family together to support one another. Funerals are especially important in circumstances in which you could not be with the dying person or view the body. If pandemic restrictions prevented a meaningful funeral shortly after the death, you have the right to have one or more gatherings in the months to come.
Embrace your spirituality
If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won’t be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.
Search for meaning
You may find yourself asking, “Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?” Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the clichéd responses some people may give you. Comments like, “It was God’s will” or “Think of what you still have to be thankful for” are not helpful, and you do not have to accept them.
Reach out for support
During the pandemic, many families and close friends have been separated from one another. This has made death and grief even harder than they already are. You have the right to reach out for support with video calls, phone calls, and other forms of technology every day. You also have the right to gather in person as soon as it is safe.
Move toward your grief and heal
Your grief has been complicated by extremely difficult circumstances, and reconciling it will not happen quickly. Be patient and gentle with yourself, and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. The more you actively embrace and express your grief—bit by bit, day by day—the more momentum you will achieve toward healing.