Families of the Fallen Find Healing Through TAPS

"I see a lot of love and a lot of pride -- you know, kids who are wearing the buttons with pictures of their dads, their brothers or their moms. And they're just so happy to share that person," Carroll said. "This is someone who just loves them so much and always will, even though they're not physically present any longer. And to be with a mentor, one-on-one, someone who's focused on them, who's a connection to the military is so healing."

The children end the conference by writing a letter to the person who died.

Megan said her message to her father is simple.

"Just tell him that I love him and that I miss him and no matter what, he'll always be in our family," she said.

Megan is also reaching out to other children, who are going through the pain she knows all too well.

"All I want to do is help the kids and make sure they don't do what I did. For their families and them, they don't have to go through the pain and hurt I went through," she said.

Teresa said that makes her proud and thankful.

"I've got my daughter back. And I feel blessed. And she's back here helping others," she said.

Teresa said she cannot imagine how she and her daughters would have made it through this difficult time without TAPS.

"It's like having a guardian angel always around you. That's what TAPS feels like," she said. "It's your big guardian angel wrapping you in wings and you're going to be OK."

Before the day ends, the children tie their letters to red, white and blue helium balloons. Together, they count down, and release them into the sky.

"It's a beautiful thing watching all of us do it," Megan said. "Because all of us are all one, and one big happy family."

And family is what so many of these children need now, more than ever.

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