Saturday Morning Message: Winter Songs

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

This week, survivors sent winter songs that express their connection to their loved ones during this season. It seemed this  picture taken at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar in May is particularly appropriate since one of the songs sent by a survivor is "Little Drummer Boy." Seeing how the band members interact with a young survivor is touching and is reminiscent of this song. 

National Military Seminar Tatoo

Another interesting note is that two survivors sent the same song, but sung by different people. Isn't that how grief works? Everyone walks a path on their own, but we can share some emotions together. That is what makes us a family. 

All of the songs are wonderful, and I want to thank those who sent them as well as those who will be reading this message and listening. I know that I enjoyed each song as well as the memory written about each one. 

In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am always looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at carol.lane@taps.org. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or to share your thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more supportive. Responders always enjoy reading what you liked about their writing. I make sure your thoughts are passed to the survivor. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have. 

Other than this week, which is a message about winter songs, each Saturday Morning Message includes a section called "Song for the Week." If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it along with a sentence or two about what makes this song distinctive. 

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

Linda, mother of Eric, wrote, "I have a question for the Saturday Morning Message. I am proud and angry all at the same time. I understand it's one of the phases of grief, but mine has not wavered nor decreased at all." Linda's question for this week is: How can I stop being angry and focus more on the pride my son felt while serving?  I know that others have faced this dilemma and can help with these emotions by sharing what they have done to alleviate this feeling. We look forward to your responses. 

Answers from Survivors with Song 

From Adra, mother of Kyle:  "Everything is different now. Beautiful things are bittersweet. Little things sometimes mean more. I don't dance, I rarely sing. Yet, the peace I feel is deeper. Some of my relationships are deeper and more meaningful. Music was such an important part of our lives together." The songs for this season Adra sent are "Little Drummer Boy" sung by Bob Seger and "Go Rest High on that Mountain" sung by Vince Gill. "As a little boy, Kyle would well up with tears over 'Little Drummer Boy.' So, my life isn't full in the way it was before, but I'm doing the best I can."

From Amy, spouse of Jonathan: My all-time favorite holiday song is "Silent Night." Listening to the melody and the words of this song bring me a sense of calm I can't explain. It reminds me to be still, to be silent, to just be. More specifically, I enjoy the a capella version performed by Pentatonix. When I hear all five voices singing different parts, all coming together to form a harmonious blend, I'm reminded that this is life - a little chaos with the intention of beauty. I am driven by music, especially that which offers a heavenly peace to my soul.

From Diane, mother of Caleb:  No matter where I went that first Christmas after Caleb went to heaven, "Silent Night" was playing. I like John Denver singing "Silent Night" especially since it was written to be played on guitar. As I listened to the words with new ears I heard the message meant for me from heaven.

"Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright." It was like Caleb was saying, "All is well, Mom."

In the silence and holiness of the moment, there was solace and assurance.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Leslie sent "All I Want for Christmas Is You" sung by LeAnn Rimes. Leslie wrote, "Five days before Christmas is Eugene's birthday. He would have been 39 this year. Six days after Christmas 2010 was the last time I saw my son. If wishes could be granted we would all like our soldiers back." She also sent "Christmas Canon" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

From James, father of Andrew:  I have always considered "Feliz Navidad," written and sung by Jose Feliciano, to be one of the best "feel good" songs ever. Don't you just smile when you hear it? How can you not purely enjoy the "Ahaaa!" thrown in at the middle of the song? And it sincerely expresses a desire to share a simple wish: a wish for you individually and for everyone collectively. A wish, given from the purest place - "from the bottom of my heart." The simple message of this song meshes so well with the honest and deeply sincere wishes that those at TAPS feel, believe and express unto others. Like TAPS, this song uniquely stands out from all others for how and what it expresses and accomplishes. Also, like TAPS, it can provide a little boost just by being there and it can also be transformational, again, for you individually and for everyone collectively.


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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This Summer, Youth Programs is hosting TAPS Good Grief and Family Camp at Home through August 28. Each week, there are activities and challenges you can complete individually and as a family. Missed a week? No problem - all activities and challenges from previous weeks are available online. Join us for opportunities for you and the kids to connect to mentors and other families through Zoom sessions.

Make plans to join us for our next Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, August 21 and 22. We have new, dynamic sessions available throughout the weekend at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home. We'll also have Share Groups, our facilitated support groups, where you can meet other survivors with similar loss experience. We look forward to seeing you online soon!

Save the date! Please join us for the Military Survivor New to Grief Seminar, once per week from September 3 to 24. Together we will work toward two primary goals. First, we will grow deeper understandings as we deconstruct myths about grief, explore the cognitive and physical impacts of grief, and seek to establish a helpful language around our own experiences. Second, we will establish community among our peers so that we have others who have a strong desire to accompany us as we continue navigating the ups and downs of our loss and grief.

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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 before August 18th, 2020, 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 illnessloss@taps.org.

Have you lost your job, or have reduced work hours? Or are otherwise affected by COVID-19? 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. Tell us more.

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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 800-959-8277.