Saturday Morning Message: Dealing With Emotions That Arise During Holidays, Birthdays, or Death Dates

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,
Finding strategies that help deal with emotions that come around special holidays, birth or death dates of our loved ones can be difficult.  This week the Saturday message will answer the question in a slightly different style. 


Several articles from the TAPS magazine archives which appear on the TAPS webpage at were chosen for their ideas on how to deal with those emotions that come up on us so quickly. Each article was chosen, because the author included some ideas that have been helpful when coping with those feelings that come around these dates. 

My hope is that you will read some or all of them and write back about your thoughts on what you have or might like to try from these articles. You can also add your thoughts about things you have tried in the past that have helped relieve these feelings and we will post the comments in a future Saturday message.

For next week’s question think about what advice you would give to someone new to grief.  What was the most helpful thing that someone did for you after the death of your loved one? We have all received advice after the death of our loved one. In our lives, there will be others who face this experience. Let’s share ideas about how to help others in our communities and our friendship circles.  I look forward to your replies. Please send any thoughts you have to


Many of you have seen Darcie Sims, PhDE, CHT, CT, GMS speak at TAPS events. She wrote an article called, “Stop. Look, Listen”  which is a wonderful way to start our journey through the articles about strategies to help with the emotions of grief.  She gives some practical and easy ideas to calm the mind and learn to trust ourselves. 

Betsy Beard, the editor of the TAPS magazine, wrote an article called “Anniversary Blues” in which she describes her feelings around the anniversary of her son’s death as well as some strategies that have helped.   

Leslie McCaddon, a surviving spouse, wrote “Self Care Reconnecting….with Myself” which is an article about how to take care of yourself when you find yourself the sole parent of young children. Her commentary talks warmly about reaching out to others who can assist us and being gentle with ourselves.  

Gloria C. Horsley, PhD, MFT, RN and Heidi Horsley, PsyD, MSW, MS are a parent and sibling team who write about their loss in the article “Bonds with the Deceased Don’t Have to End.”  While coping with their loss, they developed a weekly radio show called “Healing the Grieving Heart”. In the article, they list some creative suggestions that came from those who listened or came to the radio show. 

Lee Vincent wrote an article from a father’s point of view called “A Father’s Grief Finding a Game Plan to Honor Your Loss.”  He suggests ways he found helped on his journey after the death of his daughter including creating your own celebrations and finding companionship at a TAPS seminar. 


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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.

Other Items and Events of Interest

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This Summer, Youth Programs is hosting TAPS Good Grief and Family Camp at Home through August 28. Each week, there are activities and challenges you can complete individually and as a family. Missed a week? No problem - all activities and challenges from previous weeks are available online. Join us for opportunities for you and the kids to connect to mentors and other families through Zoom sessions.

Make plans to join us for our next Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, August 21 and 22. We have new, dynamic sessions available throughout the weekend at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home. We'll also have Share Groups, our facilitated support groups, where you can meet other survivors with similar loss experience. We look forward to seeing you online soon!

Save the date! Please join us for the Military Survivor New to Grief Seminar, once per week from September 3 to 24. Together we will work toward two primary goals. First, we will grow deeper understandings as we deconstruct myths about grief, explore the cognitive and physical impacts of grief, and seek to establish a helpful language around our own experiences. Second, we will establish community among our peers so that we have others who have a strong desire to accompany us as we continue navigating the ups and downs of our loss and grief.

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Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey before August 18th, 2020, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts. If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email

Have you lost your job, or have reduced work hours? Or are otherwise affected by COVID-19? If you are grieving the death of a loved one, and their life included military service, we'd like to hear from you. Your feedback will be used to improve TAPS programs and to communicate survivor needs to donors and stakeholders. Tell us more.

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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 800-959-8277.