Far too many military families will spend this holiday season, and many more, with an empty seat at the table. A seat which was once occupied by someone who loved, and was loved. Today, as we celebrate Christmas and look ahead to a new year filled with possibilities and dreams, let’s take a moment to remember the families of those who have given their lives in service to our country.
TAPS understands that the holiday season can be especially rough on Gold Star families and their grief counselors are on hand throughout the season to assist survivors.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas day, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), won’t close its doors. The organization’s toll free line, 1-800-959-TAPS (8277), in continuous operation since 1994, will remain available to offer comfort and support to anyone grieving the death of someone who served in the military.
The TAPS 800 number is answered live 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. On a typical day, the organization receives 60-90 phone calls from surviving family members of our fallen military seeking support, resources, information and assistance.
Holiday blues are normal for those who are grieving. Unfortunately, those feelings of loneliness and sadness can surface to plague family long after the death of their loved one. On average, it takes 5-7 years for people to reach their “new normal” following the loss of a Service Member.
With at least ten people significantly impacted by each military death, more than 58,600 people are grieving the death of someone they love who died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. That figure doesn’t include those who lost loved ones to stateside accidents, illnesses or suicide in the military.