Saturday Morning Message: Honoring Our Loved Ones
Author: Carol Lane
This is a time many come together with friends and family to share holiday recipes and memories. For many survivors, it can also be a time of sadness. Contemplating what you might do to pay tribute to your loved one might can ease those feelings. Honoring your loved one can be on a traditional holiday or one that is special just to your family and friends. This week survivors shared some of the things that are done to show these wonderful people are continuing to touch lives. There are some ideas here that gave me inspiration and I hope you will find them motivating as well. Thank you to those who reply to the Saturday message question of the week and all of you who read it. Together we grow stronger.
It can be nice to reminisce about time spent with our loved one. Sometimes we continue to enjoy an activity or event that we shared. Let's write about some of those interests, so the discussion topic for this week is: What is something that you and your loved one enjoyed doing together that you still do now? We look forward to your thoughts.
I invite you to respond to this week's question or share a topic you would like to ask the group by hitting the reply button or sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you anytime about anything. Sometimes writing to someone can be helpful.
FROM TAPS SURVIVORS:
From Deb, mother of Beth: Starting with Thanksgiving and ending with Valentine's Day, that three month span is hard for us deal with since Beth's passing. Beth was our miracle baby. The doctors had told me they could save my life, but the baby I had carried for nine months was going to die. Eighteen hours later Beth was brought into this world through C-section. The doctors said they did not understand how she had survived, because all medical science said she would not. She died in an aviation accident on her 'final exam' just two weeks before her 24th birthday. We celebrate Beth's January birthday by going to a transitional and extended housing unit established by our local Catholic diocese for veterans who have faced the horrible challenges of homelessness, unemployment, and, in many cases, addiction problems. These vets have turned their lives around, with help have found employment, live a clean life, and share housing in a vet's only apartment complex. The community remembers these vets on Veteran's Day and during the holidays, but for 10 1/2 months no one comes around, so our late January celebration broke up the long days of winter.
Last year, my husband and I decided we wanted to have a dinner with these vets and those who live in the community portion of this program. Tom and I spent a full day cooking and then sat with these vets for a family style dinner in the community room of the campus. We thought this day would be difficult, but instead we found a camaraderie with this new family. They understood how we felt, because many faced those tough times and felt the same pain from losing their brothers and sisters during service to our country. We sat with vets from WWII to a 24 year old mom who is a vet who had buried her veteran husband four years earlier from a death in Afghanistan and her little girl. One gent was 93 years old and asked me to share my recipe for roast beef with his wife. Tom and I thought this whole thing would be over by mid-afternoon, but we found ourselves not leaving until late into the evening. And the vets asked us to please come back to visit and especially to come and celebrate Beth's birthday again. As a treat, we had take-out containers, so everyone could make up a few dinner plates for the coming week. Needless to say, we took very few leftovers home. Cooking all that food ourselves was tiring, but the day went better than we could ever have imagined. When we returned home we were exhausted, but we agreed that Beth would definitely have loved this sharing event.
From Bill, father of Brandon: We lost our precious son on 3/15/11. And from that day we have undertaken every option to insure that our son is not forgotten and remembered for his service. We have or will participate in the Run For The Fallen, Fallen Warrior Memorial, Walls Of Remembrance, and National Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial to be built in Kansas City, Kansas in the future. Every day is special since he left this world and they are lived with our special thoughts of Brandon and all of the other men and women that have given their lives so that we and world may be free.
From Merry, mother of Wesley: The 28th of March is when Wes was born. On the 28th of each month, I sit and reflect by the tree that was planted in his memory at a park in Lonetree, CO. I then visit his grave at Fort Logan National Cemetery and leave a U.S. Flag or a memento. I've just ordered a wreath from Wreaths Across America and I'm hoping they can place it on his grave at Fort Logan.
From Ginny, mother of Pat: Our family and many of Pat's friends often set a place for Pat at special events. They sent us a photo from a teammate's wedding. A place was set for Pat and fellow Teammate Dave, killed together when their Helo was shot down, August 16, 2012. Often the boys will post or text us photos of a Bud light and a RedBull indicating a toast was made in their memory. It warms our hearts to know our sons are remembered.
From Jessie, father of Isaac: When my son passed, we decided to donate his organs and two people have come forward who wanted to meet us. Just a few weeks ago I met the person that received my son's heart. One man, aged 60, sent me a letter and we met in Los Angeles. It was OK at first, but when he let me hear his heart through a device that the doctors use to hear your heart, I wept very much knowing that it was my son's heart. It was in the newspaper in Los Angeles. They are thinking of putting a story of my son on a Spanish talk show.
From Melinda, mother of Christopher: My son, Chris, has been gone for 3 1/2 years. One way we have honored his memory is by setting up a fund through our local community foundation. On Chris' birthday and Christmas we give to this fund. Chris was a very generous person and was always concerned about the well-being of others. By doing this I feel that his memory will live on for many years. I know this makes Chris happy.
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.
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.