Saturday Morning Message: Feeling Your Loved One Close

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Sometimes odd things happen that make you take notice. The discussion for this week focuses on a time or event when something happened and you felt your loved one close. This could be something spectacular or a smaller event that almost went unnoticed. This past week, I had one of those times I almost missed. Three years ago, Hurricane Irene destroyed one of the libraries in our town and also a garden that had been planted to honor the three service members who had perished from my community since 2001 including my son. Through much hard work, the library was completed and the garden moved to a safer place right beside it. Last Saturday there was an open house which I attended in order to thank those who had worked many hours to make this remodeling a reality. As I was standing there, a bee landed on my sleeve. Now this may not seem eventful, but I live in Vermont and we have already had a frost. Bees should be warmly cushioned in their winter abodes at this time of year. When I shared this oddity with my daughter by phone, she pointed out that it might be her brother saying he was there. His name is Bryon hence the B (bee) on my sleeve. Her thoughts brought a smile to my face and I hope it will to you as well.

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Survivors added to this week's message by writing about times when they felt their loved ones close. Thank you to all who contribute and read this letter. Writing can be helpful in the healing process. We receive support through each other's thoughts each week.

When we are grieving,  self-care may not seem to be important . When we are worn out, it is hard to think about ourselves, perform everyday tasks, or help others in our family.  Next week, let's share what has worked for you, so the discussion topic is: What are you doing to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy?

I invite you to respond to this week's question or share a topic you would like to ask the group by sending a message to  I would love to hear from you anytime about anything. Sometimes writing to someone can be helpful.



From Sarah, spouse of David: On the first anniversary, one year to the day that my husband died, I took the kids on a mini vacation to learn to surf. We wanted to do something fun and adventurous on this very difficult day and it was a good way to honor my outdoorsy husband. As we paddled out in the waves and repeatedly struggled to get up on the boards, we heard the very familiar and distinctive sound of a military helicopter off in the distance. The sound got closer and closer until the exact type of aircraft that my husband once piloted was a couple hundred feet overhead. I was so overcome and excited for my kids to see this magical appearance! We waved and I yelled, "It's Daddy sending a helicopter to say, 'Way to go family. Get out there and LIVE!' " I wept and added a few extra drops of salt water to the ocean in those special moments. The odd thing about it was there was no military base nearby and none with aircraft for hundreds of miles. We don't think of it as completely random and unexpected.... we think of it as a God wink and we've had a few more since then. We love God winks!

From Dana, mother of Andrew: Andrew did a lot in a joking manner. Whenever we used to walk down the same hallway he would playfully shove me into the wall then laugh and ask me if I was drunk! LOL Right after he died...probably 2 days after...I was walking down the hallway. Out of nowhere, I felt this shove and ran right into the wall. I know in my heart he was telling me that he was there and that he was OK. It hasn't happened in quite some time now, but, oh, how I wish it would.

From Anne, mother of Michael:  I feel that Michael is present with me each day and in everything that I do to honor him. Just by  being friendly to people who are total strangers in my life on a daily basis, I feel that I am honoring my son.  He is in me and I feel that presence every day! Our journey on earth is a short one, so why not make the best as we travel to our final destination where we will once again embrace our loved ones.

From Rebecca, mother of Griffin: When Axela, a four pawed gift from Griff when he joined Heavens' military, and I are in the living room, we hear some creaking above like someone is walking. I feel this is Griff's spirit letting me know that he is here.

From Lisa, mother of Michael: Our family has been blessed by a few signs from above. The one that stands out would be: At our son's service, the church entrance went down a long hallway and then into the main church where we all were. Family was seated way down in the front. As the service began, a bright blue dragonfly appeared. It circled our son's casket and after each circle it came forward hovering first in front of me, then my husband, and finally our youngest daughter before it went back up the aisle and out the door. Our little girl, Michael's youngest sister, who was only 11 placed her head on my shoulder and said, "Mom I'm not going to cry anymore today, because I know Mike was just here with us." To see her smile for just a moment and have that sense of peace was God's work. I believe our angel found his way to us in the most difficult time.


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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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The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Team TAPS 

For 20 years, Team TAPS has honored our heroes and raised awareness and funds to support the TAPS mission. This year, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are coming together to create a virtual movement. We will walk, run, bike, swim, and row - find ways to move in honor of our loved ones. We will gain strength, go the distance, and encourage each other. Join us for this adventure

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

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We're all in this together

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? 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. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted you by taking our survey.


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, 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

Those who take either survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback.

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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.