Saturday Morning Message: Helping Extended Family

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

This week's question about noticing or helping extended family through grief came from an article in the last TAPS Magazine titled "Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving" By Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD.  As I read it, I thought about my husband's father who was the only grandparent alive when our son, Bryon, died. The picture of him sitting in our living room hardly able to speak during those early days came to mind. This article helped me understand what he might have been thinking at the time. I especially liked the section about a grandparent's grief being unique as they suffer for both their grandchild as well as their child.

Grandparents Embrace

Leslie, mother of Eugene, wrote a beautiful letter to her dad in the 'Answers from Survivors' section of this week's message. I can really identify with her thoughts. The emotions for me at the time were so overwhelming, it was impossible to think about anyone else. As time passes, the ideas written in this article may be helpful when talking to extended family members about your loved one. Offering to talk together when you are able might be just right to help support the healing of your family.

Would  you like to see how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have?  It is often helpful to read how others cope.  I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages.  You can also send in a song that is meaningful to your family. This week there is a blog post on the main TAPS web page called "The Dance" which talks about this song which is so special to a survivor. When it was placed on the TAPS Facebook page, it received many comments and shares. You never know how the song you send may touch others.

In addition to the ideas shared below, we can also honor our loved ones by sharing 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.



Next week let's send along a memory.  Write a funny story about your loved one. It can be a story about anytime in your loved one's life. Sharing those recollections is so much fun and we are able to know this special person better. 


Last week on the TAPS Facebook page, there was a song that seemed to be just the thing for this week's message since the topic is grandparent loss. This song had special meaning to many and it has been shared across the generations. The song  "I'll Be Seeing You"   sung by Rosemary Clooney is a favorite of a member of our TAPS staff. 


From Leslie, mother of Eugene:

Dear Dad,

It has taken me four years to apologize to you for ignoring your grief and pain. I knew you had a close relationship with your grandson, my son. However, I had been wrapped up in my grief. As his mom, I felt that my grief counted more than anyone else's. I was his mother. I raised him and his brother by myself. I pounded my chest and cried till tears would no longer come. I thought of myself. I did not think anyone could suffer as much as I.

I am sorry I ignored your pain.

I am sorry that I didn't respect your grief.

Your loving daughter,


From Roseanne, mother of Chris: After thinking a while about extended family grieving the loss of my son, I must now let you know I just attended a beautifully family affair, my granddaughter's baptism. There alongside her cake was a candle that read, "We know that you would be here today if heaven weren't so far away." Earlier in the week, I received a text from my brother about covering my vegetables due to possible frost. He went on to say Chris was the one who always used to remind him about such things. My extended family mentions his name and remembers the love. I'm sure behind closed doors they have moments of hurting and thoughts, wishing they would have done more.

For additional comments from survivors on this topic, visit the April 2, 2015 TAPS Facebook entry which shared the TAPS magazine article "Helping a Grandparent Who Is Grieving".

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


chat icon

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

calendar icon

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.

calendar icon

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

shopping cart icon

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, 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

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.