Next we will be observing Memorial Day. No matter where you are, your TAPS family will be thinking about you. Since I will be at the TAPS Seminar in Washington, DC, we will have the same question for both weeks. The Saturday Message dated June 1st will have the replies to the question: What did you do or are planning to do over the Memorial Day weekend? Don't hesitate to write whenever you feel the prose come upon you. Send your reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Several survivors combined ways to treat themselves and the celebration of their loved one's birthday. Caryn, Pam, Robin, Donna, and Leslie tell ways they do something special at that time and give themselves and/or others a variety of gifts. Thank you to those who wrote and those who read the Saturday Messages. I love hearing your thoughts, questions that you would like to ask the group, and your replies. I look forward to hearing from you.
From Caryn, surviving mother of Nathan: My son's birthday is 4/20! Now that date means many different things to people, but to me April 20, 1979 was the day I gave birth to my amazing son, Nathan Alaric! The 1st year after his passing, we planted a Douglas Fir on his birthday and released his favorite color green balloons with messages on them. We planted the tree above the natural pools in the place he had been swimming since a child. An amazing and beautiful place! Calm and serene! Because this tree is in the National Forest of Oregon, sometimes weather might keep us from reaching the tree, but we will always release the green balloons! And I do one more thing, I buy myself a gift, something I'd never buy for myself, but I know Nate would buy for me! He liked to be unique and also buy items from small\other countries to help support them. He was my one of a kind!
From Pam, surviving mother of Joseph: Joe's birthday is Sept 25th. It's close to the last Sunday of the month, so I am usually going to a Gold Star Mother's Day tea. The first year without Joe, I was invited to the home of President and Laura Bush who hosted a lovely tea for several of us Gold Star moms. It happened to fall on Joe's birthday so that was super special. He would have loved knowing that his old mom was having tea with a president. LOL.
From Robin, surviving mother of Shawn: Now Shawn's b-day was in December, so when he was just a little dud we started having his "Fake Birthday party" on April Fool's Day every year. He had the party in April with all his friends and the one in December was our day with him. No party, no cake… just a hug with a kiss from mom with a whisper "This is the day that I was given the gift of your love." He would smile and just say "I love you too momms". So now I share his real birthday with those that remember him, and his fake birthday is now the quiet one in which I still whisper the something, but now I close my eyes and just remember that smile and thank GOD for the gift that he blessed me with even if it was for just a moment in time in this earth.
From Donna, surviving mother of Adam: His birthday was 3-9-86. He was killed exactly 1 month before his 24th birthday. How do I deal with this? You have to get creative. Adam loved that we are Irish/Native American and he celebrated both cultures. My daughter, a chef, baked a beautiful cake with 4 leaf clovers. There is a story behind the clovers. Adam's 1st tattoo was a 4 leaf clover with a diamond in the middle. Each leaf represented a sibling and the diamond was for us (his parents). Adam also designed a pendant for me with that same theme. Something else we do is to buy 23 green and white balloons on which we write a note to Adam. We also place a piece of paper inside the balloons or tied to the string with a small picture of him and a mini-bio of his life. That way, whomever finds it learns about a fallen soldier. We send flowers to his grandparents in his name. Birthdays are a sensitive time for all of us and we continue to honor our Hero!
From Leslie, surviving mother of Eugene: Haven't felt much like treating myself to much. But things happen and there are changes. One treat is that I am taking my future daughter-in-law shopping for whatever she wants...she is having my Granddaughter. This is beyond a treat. I am hoping my son in heaven is giggling that he will be an uncle. The next treat is planning my wedding to the most fabulous man...thinking Gene arranged this chance meeting.
The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer based connection, survivors helping survivors, for support and encouragement along the grief journey. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the SMM is edited for spacing considerations and grammatical corrections.
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