Saturday Morning Message: Jewelry Options, Part 2

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

The question about jewelry brought in so many responses that there needed to be a second Saturday Message devoted to them. This week, I thought I would add what I do with jewelry. The picture is the heart locket that I wear every day. Inside is my son, Bryon's, boot camp picture. When I go to TAPS or military events, I wear other pins as well. However, the heart is always with me.

Lockett

Thank you to all who responded to this question about jewelry as well as those who read the Saturday Message. Connecting together each week is a special experience as we walk this path. We are not alone.

The discussion for next week comes from Ruth. She is putting together a coffee table book and found a letter written by a friend of her son to include in the book. Ruth would like to know if you have received letters or other items connected to your loved one and how have you preserved them?

To respond to the question of the week or to share a question you would like to ask the group, you can reply directly to me by replying to this message or sending an email to carol.lane@taps.org.  I would love to hear from you anytime about anything. Sometimes writing to someone can be helpful.

Hugs,
Carol

FROM TAPS SURVIVORS:

From Christi, mother of Zachary: Every morning I wear my Gold Star pin.  There hasn't been a day I've gone without it since I received it.  I also wear Zack's school ring and a For the Fallen bracelet. His American Gold Star coin with his name on it goes in my pocket.  His dog tag was on a picture on my desk, but now I wear it every day too.  It belongs close to my heart.  Once in a while I go without the coin, because I don't have any pockets.  Other than that this has been a daily ritual for almost a year now.  It makes me feel close to him.

Kitty, mother of John: We are truly proud parents of John, who served our country as a medic for 15 years in the US Army, before his last duty station was changed. We have car license plates that read "JMC MDC" on one car, and "SGT JMC" on the other.

We observe RED shirt Fridays--Remember Everyone Deployed- by donning our TAPS National Seminar, Peer Mentor, Camp Pendleton, Fort Bragg, or Fort Lewis shirts.

In September, in observance of Gold Star Mother's Day, the Blue Star Mothers and Prayer Angels for the Military treat Gold Star mothers in our Santa Clarita Valley to an afternoon of total pampering and gifts. Two years ago, one such gift was a dog tag replica with a photo on one side, and date of death on the other for each of the Gold Star mothers' sons which we distributed to our family members. My husband wears his 24/7. I take mine off at night. "We grieve because we love!"

Christine, mother of Adam: I have worn Adam's dog tags every day. Last year on my daughter's wedding day, I took off the one with his name on it, and pinned it inside my dress. His earring I wear in my left ear as he did. It is the first thing I put on and the last thing I take off at night.

From Georgianna, mother of Jamie:  I wear my commemoratives all the time. It makes me feel complete in God's strength to remind me of His promises that He has for my son and I. I feel honorable, compassionate, and knowing my new family from TAPS makes me feel warm, happy, whole, and normal again. I don't wear a lot, but a select few. When I see another survivor wearing jewelry, pins, or other items, I know I can ask to introduce myself, as a survivor.

Ruth, mother of James: I have two pieces of jewelry I wear all of the time.  The first is my gold star.... a friend of mine who is a jeweler made a wax form and styled my pin into a 14K necklace.  It never leaves me.   It does bring comments and depending on my mood, I either just thank them, but most generally I tell them it represents my son who died in Afghanistan.  I then let the person know who has commented that I really appreciate them noticing... It means that someone is thinking of my son.

The other piece I wear is a dragonfly pin.   It represents a story I read at my son's funeral about  how a water bug climbs a lily pad and turns into a dragonfly in a beautiful new world.  After the funeral a very large dragonfly appeared in the dining hall.  All heads were turned upward. The dragonfly flew over my head twice and left.  I know it was Jim telling me good bye and that he loved me.  I am often asked to read the same story at other funerals....  I take great pride in sharing a piece of Jim.

Jim's medals are on display in our front room along with other things he brought home. I love and miss Jim, but I know we'll be together again.

From Robert, father of Louis: I wear Lou's and my dog tags and a commemorative bracelet. Vivian wears what I do, plus his Lt bar that he wore and a unit pin from the 101 Calvary NY Army National Guard. When wearing a jacket I wear my Gold Star pin.

Virginia, mother of Patrick: We have titanium bracelets that were given to us by one of Pat's teammates. It has Pat's name, date of birth, date of death, and signature saying that was tattooed on his leg which was "Cry havoc, and let slip the frogs of war". Pat loved Shakespeare and this is a quote from that writing. Navy SEALS are sometimes called frogmen. We also had silver bracelets made by Montana silversmiths that we wear on special occasions and I have a gold Navy SEAL trident necklace that my husband gave me after Pat died. I wear it at all times and never take it off.

From Rebecca, mother of Griffin: I wear Griff's black earring posts in my ears. They never come out. Griff only wore his earrings in his civilian world. A set of Griff's dog tags is draped on the case that holds the American flag warmly given to me when Griff became one with the earth.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS
 

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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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Celebrating National Mentoring Month

During this National Mentoring Month, we want to express our gratitude for all of our mentors:

  • TAPS Peer Mentors who take their experience as a military survivor and offer support to those new to grief.
  • Military and Legacy Mentors who companion the youngest members of our family, offering a safe and supportive community.

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn throughout the month, where we will be sharing resources and articles about mentoring, along with quotes and testimonials from our mentors and mentees.

Webinar: Mindfulness as Your Superpower

On Thursday, January 28 at 12 p.m. Eastern, the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing® will present a free webinar, "Mindfulness as Your Superpower."

Mindfulness isn’t just for naturally calm people. It is a superpower that can help us cope with the most challenging emotions—even grief. Using superhero case examples, during this workshop, you will learn how mindfulness can help you navigate loss, improve your health, and cultivate much-needed compassion for your grieving heart. 

Join TAPS At One of Our 2021 Seminars

Registration is now open for our 2021 Regional Seminars and our National Military Survivor Seminar. In - Person and Virtual Opportunities are available.

TAPS Seminars offer a comprehensive model of care that brings together adult survivors of all ages for a weekend of hope and healing. Whether you recently lost your hero, have lived many years without them or are somewhere in between, TAPS Seminars are designed to meet you where you are in your grief journey. 

Breath of Fresh Air with TAPS Outdoors: Breathing In The New Year

TAPS Outdoors wants to help you reconnect with the natural world in simple yet meaningful ways with weekly activities you can do anywhere. (Yes, we really mean anywhere.) Our goal is to connect you with the healing power of nature no matter where you live and give you the tools to make meaning out of your experiences. 

As many of us have experienced in our grief, a year of great loss and challenge can also give way to new life and hope. Join us in January for Breathing In The New Year, as we transition into a new year and explore the wild, forging new paths together in our hearts and set foot on trails we've yet to see. 

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

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 info@taps.org.


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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 smile.amazon.com, 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.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email online@taps.org.

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.