The only analogy that I can come up with is imagining going to the college every day and hearing that a student, staff member, or faculty died last night, and multiplying that scenario over and over again. My heart breaks for the soldier’s who continue to serve our country day after day in spite of their grief. Grief that they can’t fully process because if they stop long to think about the loss it may be overwhelmingly paralyzing. It is what that gratitude to those who serve, and those who care for them, that page has been created.

The many losses of the service members are not limited to others in uniform. It can include friends of family who had died in the States while they were gone. It can include civilian casualties too. I watched a program on TV where a hospital unit in Baghdad was being followed and recorded. One nurse was working on a little girl who quickly died. He looked into the camera and said, “I’ve seen this little girl before, her Mom and Dad are gone, now I have to go tell her brother he has no one left.” It’s so much bigger than we can imagine. We need to do everything we can to support them in their grief.

An on-line search for grief and support for military families includes a plethora of resources for widows, www.militarywidows.org, www.youngwidows.com, and parents, children, and siblings, www.va.gov. This is just a sampling, there’s plenty more out there. But what I couldn’t find is who is taking care of the grief of the soldier who came home alive when some of his/her friends didn’t? Perhaps the most comprehensive site I found is TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. They offer a myriad of service member support programs including: Peer Support, Grief Support, Trauma Support, Suicide Support, and Vet Center Counseling, just to name a few! This site provides a wealth of information for people such as social workers, chaplains, and health care workers who are supporting grieving military members and their families. Professionals visiting their site, www.taps.org, must visit their webpage titled “Events.” It provides a list of events, Good Grief Camps, programs, continuing education webinars for professionals. Even if you don’t visit the site, you must take a few moments to print this PDF, offered for free through their site, it will provide you a detailed roadmap on how help grieving military members and/or their grieving families.

We have also included links on this page to past blogs on topics relating to the military, tragic and sudden death, and additional helpful topics. We will continue to update this page regularly as we receive additional helpful information to support you as you support those who serve all of us.


NOTE: There are two new laws in Colorado, as of May 2009, that you ought to be aware of:

The first is HB09-1058 “Abandoned Military Remains Disposition.” This new law states that the next of kin has 5 days from receiving notice of the death or 10 days after the death has occurred (whichever is earlier) to begin the process of a final disposition. If that is not done, then any member or veteran of the Armed Forces has the legal right to access the remains and records of the deceased for final disposition. If the remains are those of a veteran, than they must be transferred to the closest National Cemetery for final disposition. Click here to read a PDF copy of the bill.

The second is HB09-1054 “
UI Award Military Death Surviving Spouse.” This law provides for unemployment insurance benefits for a surviving spouse of an active duty military stationed in Colorado and killed in combat, if the surviving spouse had to move out of Colorado as a result of the death. Click here to read a PDF copy of the bill.
Grief & Loss in the Military
As a person who has never experienced the loss of a loved one through service to their country, it is something that I watch from afar and ponder the ocean of tears that come from the grief of losing a young son, daughter, husband, wife. But I also think about the fact that although those families are burying one loved, the service members are burying friend after friend after friend.

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