It is the beginning of a New Year. Some find that this time of year brings reflections on the past; others make plans to change something in their lives; many more just want to breathe and take each day one at a time. There is no right or wrong way to approach 2013. Several survivors have written this week about how their loved one lives in their hearts and will continue throughout this year as well. I want to thank all of them for sharing their thoughts with us.
This week’s question is a reflection: Knowing what you know now, what will you offer to another person who has lost a loved one? I look forward to reading your ideas for this question.
Questions from survivors to be answered by the group are always welcome and any ideas to make the weekly message more meaningful are appreciated. Your input is always welcome.
From Mary-Ann, surviving mother of Blake:
I guess I think about the quote “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die” in many ways. Our loved ones are alive within us safe and sound in the warmth of the
hearts of all of those who loved them. That's a "warm fuzzy" way of putting things in perspective as we all try to deal with the new norms we are living in now. Blake is not really gone. He is in my heart and the hearts of those who loved him.
From Caryn, surviving mother of Nate:
My son, Nate is everywhere and while I'm spending these past months with my parents I've come to realize that my son was more like my Dad then I ever realized! Wearing my son's dog tags with my husband’s rings also on the chain keeps a constant conversation going. Everyone asks & I love talking about the wonderful people they both were. They will forever live in my heart because I keep their names & who they were alive! I don't ever forget
From Leslie, mom of Eugene:
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my son. Sometimes when working on the computer I wish he was around to help me with technical issues. I have albums of photos I look at, but limit myself to 2 at a time or I end up in a puddle. I have a batik he made of a dragonfly when he was 8... hung in the children's museum of NYC for a few months at that time. About 3.5 years ago I had enough money to have it framed beautifully and hung it up in my bedroom over the TV. He was shocked to see how great it looked, but questioned why I bothered. I told him he made it and I loved it. It hangs in my new place as well. There are his flag and many medals and coins displayed. There are family photos all over my apartment. And there he is where he has been since birth...in my heart...my boy, my joy.
From Rose, surviving spouse of Troy:
My husband lives in my heart by his memory; we had a lot of good memories together. Those memories will always be there to remind me how lucky I was, blessed with my wonderful husband. He always made me laugh no matter what silly faces he made. When I was cooking he would sneak up on me and tell jokes and make me laugh. Even now he still makes me smile thinking about the good memories and just looking up at his picture; it feels that he is here with me. His picture looks so real, like he is in front of me smiling back at me. My love for my husband didn't change with the fact that he’s not here with me and I don't see him. I will always love him no matter what. My husband and kids are the best thing that happened in my life. I am thankful for that.
From Bob, surviving father of John:
I just thought I would send you a note to let you know what our community of Santa Clarita did for the 11 Gold Star Families; The Boys and Girls Club have an annual fund raiser called Festival of Trees. 30 plus trees were decorated this year and one was decorated with pictures of the 11 fallen warriors plus mementos special to each family. The mayor and some of his friends, all huge supporters of the military, bid and won the tree for $7250, the most for any of the Christmas trees. It stood in the entry of city hall this whole Christmas season. That was a reward for all families and all military families. As the mayor said at the tree's dedication, "God bless America, and all our Gold Star Families."
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.
If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 1-800-959-8277.