We hope this message finds you and your family well during this still-lingering season of COVID-19. We are all learning to flex and adapt in ways we couldn’t possibly have imagined before the pandemic. Not knowing what the future holds for large personal gatherings, we have to make organizational decisions based on the information we have now - especially with everyone's safety in mind. We do know that Massachusetts, the planned location for our National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar this year, was one of the states hardest hit by COVID-19 cases. It is also one of the last in the country to institute a phased reopening plan. As of now, that plan is still in its earliest stages, with the full impact on reduction of COVID-19 cases still yet unknown.
In that light, when there is still so much we don’t know, the only responsible course of action is to err on the side of compassion, care, and safety. We believe the safest way to care for our suicide loss family this year is to hold our annual seminar virtually rather than in person as we have always done. Please be sure to mark your calendars for the following dates and plan to join us virtually: Friday evening, October 16, Saturday October 17 and Sunday, October 18.
This is not the news we’d hoped to share, nor is it what you had hoped to hear; we do miss your in-person hugs so very much! We are, however, committed to creating new and unique ways for our family to gather (albeit through our screens) and engage with each other in meaningful ways that foster the hope and healing this family is known for. Our amazing team is working hard to create innovative activities and ongoing programming where we can meet virtually with each other, support each other’s grieving and healing with boosts of hope and inspiration, and keep those TAPS family connections strong for when we are at last able to gather in person again.
The very moment more details of the virtual National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar (vNMSSS) are available, we will share them online and via our social media platforms; programming offerings and schedules will be released as soon as they are finalized so you will be able to choose which sessions interest you and what to plan to attend. We are so grateful for your understanding, support, and patience during this difficult time for our country. Please know you can reach out to us at any time to talk through your feelings around this shift and also share any ideas with us to help make this a virtual experience that benefits us all.
We love you, we miss you, we can’t wait to see your faces again both on screen and in person in the future.