Part IV - MISS Foundation

A Mother’s Grief
• “Seven weeks feel like seven days and seven years, all
at the same time.”
• “And then there is anger…”
• “Getting through each day is all there is.”
• “I don’t believe people understand what really being
alone is until they experience grief.”
• “The first stage is denial. It takes a while to accept that it
is real.”
By Diana Mihalakis in Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p. 8 – 10.
you have passed through anger, you can
then deal with guilt.”
The next stage of grieving is hurting and missing.”
“This has been the most treacherous and scary
period of my life.”
“Today, two-and-a-half years after the death of my
youngest child and only son, I have found
By Diana Mihalakis in Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p. 8 – 10.
Resources of Bereaved Military Parents
• American Gold Star Mothers’ Association
• Gold Star Fathers
• Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors:
• Marine Parents
• The Compassionate Friends
Resources for Bereaved Military Family Members
• Stephens’ Touch
• American Soldier Foundation
• Operation Proud Hearts.
• Grief i-Phone application
• Military Family Grief-Loss Packet
TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
• provides comfort and care to families of
deceased military members
• has assisted 35,000 surviving military family
members and casualty officers since 1994
• provides comprehensive services and programs,
such as peer based emotional support, grief and
trauma resources, case work assistance, and
connections to community-based care.
TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
TAPS helps survivors connect with others through:
• Peer Support
• Community Resources
• Online Community Support
• Events (e.g., Survivors Seminars, Good Grief Camps for children)
• By Phone
TAPS offers special programs for:
• Widow, Widower, Significant Other
Suicide Survivor
• Surviving Parent
Extended Family
• Surviving Sibling
Friend or Battle Buddy
• Surviving Adult Child
Caregiver for a Grieving Child
TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
TAPS offer help through:
• 24/7/ TAPS Resource Help Line
• Benefits and Assistance
• Grief Counseling
• Care and Support Groups
TAPS offers the following resources:
• TAPS Magazine
• Survivor Resource Kit
• Grief Publications
• Gifts for Families of the Fallen
• Links to Helpful Organizations
Advice for Grieving Military Parents
from Gold Star Parents
Grieve in your own way and at your own pace.
Wait at least a year to make big decisions.
Stay connected to the people around you.
Give others permission to talk about your child.
Allow yourself to enjoy hobbies and activities.
Let others help.
Comfort your other children.
Consider creating a legacy for your child.
Set your own rules about talking with the media.
Consider becoming a member of a support group.
From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deborah Tainsh, (2010) p 179- 181.
Advice for Friends and Comrades
from Gold Star Parents
• Reach out to the family.
• Respect differences in grieving.
• Listen.
• Share stories.
From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deborah Tainsh (2010), p. 182-183.
Ways Loss of Buddies Can Create Trouble for
• They are bothered by their memories of combat experiences.
• They feel guilty that they failed their buddies if they were seriously
injured or killed.
• They are grieving the loss of their buddies.
• They feel responsible and guilty that they survived when their buddy
did not.
• They numb out and detach to keep from expressing their emotions.
• Their friends and loved ones tell them that they have changed.
EOD Marine Remembered for Heart, Selflessness, and Courage
Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant
following the Loss of Several Buddies
“I don’t remember feeling any emotion at the time,
probably due to the adrenaline. As the commander
gave the briefing, every soldier cried. I can still see
the stunned looks of loss, tragedy, and total
disbelief on everyone’s face. I don’t think I’ve ever
felt more grounded or mortal than at that very
moment. We created a circle, held hands, and
prayed out loud for the souls and families of those
we had just lost.”
Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.176.
Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant
following the Loss of Several Buddies
“Again, the events simply didn’t seem real. How were
we going to deal with losing two more of our guys?
Once again I secluded myself in silent prayer as we
again, several days later, held a memorial
service…Again, we all stood in line to salute the boots,
rifle, helmet and dog tags.”
Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.176.
Second Radio Battalion Honors Fallen Marine
Comments from a U.S. Army Sergeant
following the Loss of Several Buddies
“For the first year after returning from Iraq, I averaged
two hours of sleep each night. I wasn’t having
flashbacks or nightmares, all I kept thinking about was
the guys we didn’t bring home alive. I felt guilty. Not
because of anything I did or didn’t do, but because I
wasn’t killed instead of them. I think deep down I never
thought I’d make it home alive and I was mentally and
emotionally prepared for that. I wasn’t able to deal with
my return home since my buddies hadn’t returned with
us. I believe the lack of closure and survivor’s guilt has
contributed heavily to my personal grief and unrest.”
Comments by Chris Kruppa, U. S. Army sergeant, from Surviving the Folded Flag, by Deboran Taish (2010), p.177.
Guide for therapists using At Ease,
Soldier! with service members
Workbook for service
members to assist in postdeployment adjustment
Five Aspects of a Military Widow’s Life that
Affect Her Response to Her Husband’s Death
• her age
• her previous experience with death
• children
• her duty station
• deployments
Resources for Bereaved Military Spouses
• F.I.NE. (Females in Need of Empowerment)
• American Widow Project
• Gold Star Wives of America
• Got Your Back Network
• Society of Military Widows
How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss
• Children are only going to hear the first sentence
and the language must be age-appropriate, using
terms that they understand.
• At the same time a parent is giving information
and talking about the death of the loved one, they
must also give assurance.
• No matter what kind of language you use with the
child, don’t say to the child, “Do you understand
me?” because a child will nod yes. Ask the child
to repeat what you said so that you can
determine if the child understood what you said.
How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss
• Help children talk about their feelings. You might sit down
and draw with the child. You could draw a picture of what it
looks like to be sad or scared and ask the child to draw a
picture, too. This can help both of you to let out some of your
• Giving the child some control and letting her know that she
can do something about it helps a child manage her feelings.
You can ask the child, “What is it that helps you to feel better
about something?” Children can always come up with things
that make them feel better. It may be something as simple as
a hug or holding onto a stuffed animal. It might be sleeping
with a light on. You could suggest that they wrap the feelings
up in a big blanket so it can’t bother them. Or perhaps they
could stuff the sadness into a pillow case and put it
somewhere and forget about it for a while.
How to Help Military Children Grieve Their Loss
The importance of routine and rituals:
• Keep family routines in place. Children like
predictability, so keeping routines like nap time
and chores helps them feel more in control.
• Create a special time and place to spend
• Check out the resources provided on the
Resources for Bereaved Military Children
• When Families Grieve
• Good Grief Camps (TAPS)
• Operation Hug-a-Hero (aka Daddy Dolls).
• A Soldier’s Child Birthday
• Rainbows
• Snowball Express.
• Zero to Three
• The National Children Traumatic Stress Network.
• Special Ops Survivors
• Moyer Foundation
• Operation We Are Here
Seven Ways Americans Can Help the Families of
Fallen Warriors
Learn about military loss.
Choose your words of condolence carefully.
Acknowledge the family’s sacrifice.
Ask about their loved one.
Be patient with the family.
Be a good friend, neighbor, or co-worker
Give the surviving military family a break
from their grief.
Four Important Messages from Gold Star Parents
• We do not want our children’s sacrifice to ever be
• We need our military leaders and civilians to understand
the pain parents endure in the face of the service and
sacrifices made by our military children.
• We need to know that our loved one’s military family
won’t shut us out.
• We need to hear each other’s stories, to know we are not
alone in the madness and crushing weight of loss, grief,
and debate that surrounds war.
From Surviving the Folded Flag by Deboral Tainsh (1210), p. 6
Thank You

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