Saturday Morning Message: Positive Lessons Learned

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

The question last week was about sharing positive lessons learned on this grief journey. Lighthouses have special meaning for me. They light the way for those encountering difficulties while traveling. We do the same when we write about our experiences in the Saturday Morning Message.


Sometimes we encounter these concepts in the form of surprises. This past Sunday was Mother's Day and one mother wrote about a wonderful phone call she received on a special day. She wanted to share it.

From Ruth, mother of Jim: The phone rang and I almost didn't answer it as I didn't recognize the number. I thought it might be a telemarketer on Mother's' Day. I don't know why I answered, but I did.  It went something like this,  "Hello, hello, my name is Luke and I am stationed at Fort Lewis Washington.  I knew with the loss of your son this would be a hard day. My four buddies and I just wanted to wish you a Happy Mother's Day."  To my great surprise, I discovered that this young man's mother lives nearby.  He and his four friends are coming to visit here soon and want to stop by to meet us. I think we have been adopted.

Another idea was posted recently on the TAPS Facebook page featuring Brantley Gilbert. From his personal tragedy, Brantley is now reaching out to others. He wrote the song "One Hell of an Amen" to honor two friends, Jonathan Lootens and Kory Potts. One died in service to our country and the other died of cancer. He created the "Bring It On"  campaign which is a place you can  post pictures of your loved one. Visitors to the site can also choose to donate to TAPS.

Would you like to share a meaningful song or see how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have?  I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages.  It can be helpful to read how others cope.

In addition to the ideas shared below, we can also honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by sending it directly to This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.




Since I will be at the TAPS National Seminar over the Memorial Day weekend, let's use the same question for the next two weeks.  The replies will be posted Saturday, May 30, 2015. This will give you time to answer if you would like to write about the event after it happens. I will also be checking my email frequently during the National seminar and would love to hear from you. The question is: What did you do over the Memorial Day weekend?



The song this week came from Donna, mother of Derek: I would like to suggest this song of the week. It is Hero  by Enrique Iglesias. When my son first shipped off to the Navy, I couldn't help crying every time I heard it. In my mind, I made the lyrics fit my son being my Hero. When I lost Derek, I added this song to his tribute CD that played with pictures and music at his funeral.  



Lynn, mother of Blake: The thought is interesting as to what lessons I have learned along my journey's path. For me, it has been more  intensified and heightened emotions. The lessons which have been reinforced and I continue to work toward are:

  1. Never, never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  2. Forgiveness is something I need to do for me.
  3. Take nothing for granted.
  4. Remember to be kind and take care of myself. This has been challenging.
  5. Be in the moment to embrace and appreciate life's joy. Don't wait to value a moment until it becomes a memory.

From Mary-Ann, mother of Blake:   There are so many things life taught me. It would be difficult to mention them all, but here are some of them. I guess the first positive thing I learned was how many wonderful, loving, caring people make up our community which is a wonderful place to live. People came out of the woodwork to express their love and concern for us. People we knew well, people we barely knew, and those we didn't know at all were here for us. We learned just how loved and respected our son was by his shipmates, as well as his childhood friends. We received hundreds of letters, cards, emails, calls, visits etc. from many of Blake's military friends. They just wanted to let us know how special Blake was to them and tell us special things he had done for them. People still come by leaving little items on his grave like glow sticks and coins. It warms my heart every time I go to his grave and see that another friend went out of the way to pay him a visit. I have learned NEVER to take anything for granted or to assume anything will go the way you expect it to go. Sometimes life will throw things at you that are least expected--some are good and sometimes they're anything but good. When things get tough, you just have to pick up the pieces.  Thank God for the good times you had, the blessed memories with your loved one, and just keep on going. If you didn't have bad times, you wouldn't appreciate the good ones. Learn from both of them and when you have someone cross your path in need, you will know how best to help them. God sends us the help we need in unexpected ways to help us get through our most difficult times. Remember them and become one of God's blessings for others in need. This is only the tip of the iceberg of things I've learned.

Photo Credit: Ladies Delight Light, 2005 by I, Lmichaud. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

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

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).