Saturday Morning Message: Jewelry Options

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

There were so many good ideas that came in about the wearing and placement of jewelry in the home that there will be two weeks on this topic.  Let's broaden the subject this week to allow for other ideas on the display of these special items. The question for this week is: Do you wear commemorative jewelry or other attire or do you have a special place for them in your home? Sharing ideas is always wonderful. Thank you so much for sending in replies to this week's question.

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  I would love to hear from you anytime about anything. Sometimes writing to someone can be helpful.



From Terri, mother of Matthew: I love my TAPS buttons and my Gold Star pins. I also have necklaces and bracelets friends have made. I love wearing them to TAPS and Gold Star events as well as other special events. As time passes, I don't wear them all the time. I think it's all part of the healing process to let go of some things. Including wearing this jewelry on a daily basis as I did in the beginning.

From Caryn, mother of Nathan: Since the death of my son, Nathan, in 2011, I wear his dog tags. Also on that chain I have my husband's ring and mine. Most of the time I wear them whenever I leave the house, but there are those days that I feel the need to wear them at home.

From Elizabeth, fiancĂ© of Ryan: I wear a necklace that has a claddagh which is an Irish symbol showing two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of it. The necklace traditionally used to represent love and loyalty was given to me by my Nana. I've had it for many years and it was the first thing Ryan used to start talking to me. When he died, I wanted a cremation necklace. The claddagh holds some of his ashes. His mother and sister also have necklaces in different styles. I wear it most days. It's like carrying around a little piece of him.

From Donn, father of Todd:  In the four years since Todd was killed, I have always worn for at least most of the day my Gold Star pin.  I have gone through two of them.  Every day, by pinning that device near my heart, four things happen:  Todd is with me; I do not hide or "try to forget" the reality of what happened; I immediately wonder how Emma, Todd's wife, and Kiley, his now five year old daughter, are doing in faraway Guam with Emma's great new Navy husband, Alex, and their son Shelton; and I have a conversation to respond to when asked, "What does that pin mean?".  When either the pin, or a special silver bracelet that I also wear every day sparks conversation, I can show the pride I feel as Todd's Dad.  I also always talk about the need to remember all our Fallen and hand out my personal card, the other side of which tells Todd's story and sacrifice to those I meet.  In fact, all in our extended family have a bracelet, made by Todd's father-in-law, George, a fantastic silversmith.  Many, if not most days, they too wear the bracelet and are ready to talk about a very special person, like all Gold Star families.

From Dana, mother of Andrew:  Being that I am still so new...I wear my hero bracelet almost every day, and I have 2 necklaces I wear every day. For me it is important.  It is a way to keep Andrew close to my heart not that he isn't always there. I imagine years down the road I might change, but for now I am very comfortable doing this. And it opens the door for others to ask and for me to tell Andrew's story.

From Karl, father of Tre: I ALWAYS wear the black band on my wrist that the Capt. had made and sent me.  He said he made all his platoon wear it when my son first passed. Although he was Air Force, he was attached to an Army unit at a COP (Combat Outpost) in Afghanistan.  He must have made a great impression on them.  I don't know why I feel I must always wear it.  Sometimes I wear his picture on certain days like Veterans Day.  My boy's birthday is Oct. 8 so it's a bit stressful leading up to it.

Lisa, mother of Michael: Not long after losing our son my sister presented a gift to my husband and me. She presented us each with a photo charm necklace, my husband's is in the style of a small gold dog tag which he wears on special occasions and to me a silver heart photo of Mike with his nick name Mikey down the side, for the longest time I could not breath without wearing mine, but we are now 2 years into this new normal and I am learning to breathe again.

We lost Michael Aug 2012 and as we celebrated his heavenly birthday that December his dad and I decided to give a photo necklace gift to each of his siblings. His 3 sisters wear theirs on occasion like their dad, but his only brother -best friend wears his 24/7. I imagine we all travel this road in different ways and for us this is a way of keeping mike close to our hearts...

From 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.


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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.