Saturday Morning Message: Remembering the Light

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Remembering the light and not the darkness takes a long time to come into our lives after the death of a loved one. If you observe a lighthouse in the late evening, the stream of light comes into your line of vision and then fades away, but it always comes back. That is how the memories of our loved ones’ lives come to us…in waves. Sometimes they make us laugh and other times, they bring tears. Either way, the thoughts of this precious person goes through our minds. Today we have some reflections that survivors wrote to share with you. As you read them, think about your own special person. Ruth shared one of the stories she is writing to create a book about her son for his younger brother. Thank you Bob, Caryn, and Ruth for giving us a glimpse of your loved ones’ lives. Another idea that might be helpful is a TAPS magazine article by Darcie Sims titled “In Search of Joy, Finding Your Way Through the Darkness.”  


I hope to share some ideas next week about responses you give when someone who is not a survivor asks you, “How are you doing?” We have all had this happen. It will be wonderful to have a collection of answers ready when this question comes up again. If you would like to contact me directly with a reply, email



From Bob, surviving father of John: On one of our trips to Hawaii where our son John was stationed as a medic, John took leave and we went to the big island for some R & R with his wife and him. He was always amazed by the people we knew when we were not in our element, i.e., California. We were visiting the Volcano House and were looking over the cauldron when from behind us came a voice saying, "Bob, what are you doing over here?" The voice was from a retired teacher I had once worked with in the inner city of LA. John turned to me and stated "My God, do you know everybody?" I answered, "Almost everyone!" The look on his face was priceless and one we will never forget.

From Caryn, surviving mother of Nathan: Nathan was discharged earlier than he had expected due to his injuries, so he had to readjust his life's goals. He married and soon had an amazing son. A little over a year later they were expecting a daughter, but in a few months my husband and me were asked to attend this meeting with their doctor.  We had no idea what to expect. 

At this meeting, three doctors were in attendance and they shared with us the last results of their ultrasound. It showed that our granddaughter had a condition called "Gastroshisis" which meant that in the womb, her stomach was not closing and not until birth would they know to what extent. We were filled with tons of info and spent the rest of the pregnancy preparing including infant CPR for all 4 of us. Our miracle baby was born Oct. 12th and came home Dec. 24th. Nathan decided to become a stay at home Dad (while his wife worked) and learned every detail of the feeding tube, oxygen if needed, how to balance her can of baby formula, and all her meds. She did go through 4 surgeries before leaving the hospital, too!

Nate was an excellent Dad. He took care of two kids, cleaned house, made all the meals, and handled all of his daughter’s needs and emergencies those first few years. There where quite a few in the beginning. But she surpassed every obstacle the doctors thought she'd have thanks to my son working with her during those early years. That feeding tube they expected through her teen years was out before preschool! Hopefully, the foundation he gave his children will stay with them and come through at just the right times!

From Ruth, surviving mother of James: It was a cool day for the end of August the smell of sawdust from the lumber mill and docks filled the air.  Jim in his blue jacket tugged at the handle of the red wagon that carried his little brother.  I knew he would tire quickly and I would soon pull the wagon and watch Jim make his stops as he went down the street.  Quickly, he would race into McKay’s to pick up a treat from the grocery clerk and then back outside.  In a few blocks we would pass by Why's Grocery Store where all kinds of Chinese food was stocked.  Jim would run in to pet the cat who was usually asleep on top of the produce.  This particular day our destination was the shoe store.   A wonderful place where you could x-ray your feet and be fitted for just the right shoes.  We needed a pair of sturdy shoes for the winter.  Jim wanted cowboy boots, but they were out of the question.   Suddenly, as we passed the Humboldt Tavern, a longshoreman picked up step with us.  He chatted with Jim and soon Jim was showing him the holes in his shoes.  Jim also came up with the wonderful story that his shoes were talking shoes.  Raising one foot towards the man, he flipped the sole back and forth as though the shoe had something to say.  

The man laughed! Something we had not seen him do in months. His son, an outstanding athlete for North Bend High School, had been killed in a tragic automobile accident along with his future daughter- in- law.   Jim explained to him that he really wanted cowboy boots but we were too poor, an exaggeration as to our standings.  The man stopped, put his hands in his pocket and said, "You know I was just going in the Humboldt to buy a round of drinks for everyone in there.  I think they can wait until next time."  Jim didn't understand a round of drinks, so he and his new found friend talked about it.  When they were through talking Jim said in his most adult voice, "I believe I could use those boots now... do you know my size?”  The boots were bought and Jim never forgot the kind and gentle man who took time just for him.   I think this is why Jim loved the children in Afghanistan.  He wanted to be the bigger than life man that the children would not forget.


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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.

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In Season 2: Sowing Seeds, we will utilize the skills we developed over winter to plant seeds of hope for the flourishing summer ahead. Spring is the season of new beginnings, and we look forward to preparing the ground, planting seeds and growing with you in the journey to blooms. The official launch date is Wednesday, March 3.

Free Webinars Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

Gain valuable information and coping strategies through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing. In February, you have two opportunities to participate in free online sessions. 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

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Our hearts are with our TAPS Families impacted by recent winter weather. You are not alone. You've got this! And we've got you! We are always available to provide compassionate care to our military survivors in any circumstance. We also want to lessen the added stress you may be experiencing due to such emergencies. If you are in need of support, due to a natural disaster, contact our Casework Team at 202-588-TAPS (8277) or via email at for information on available aid and supportive resources as well as read our TAPS Natural Disaster Response article.

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COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at

Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  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 Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

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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 202-588-8277.