Saturday Morning Message: Personal Changes

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

For many, the scenery around us is changing. This picture is of fall foliage in Utah is for Allica, daughter of Burr,  who lives in Utah. I asked her to send pictures of the mountains as the trees change into their fall colors for this Saturday Morning Message topic. It is overwhelming to see the beauty of our country.

Utah Country Side

After the beauty of the fall, in many areas, the cold and grayness of winter comes. The seasonal changes of the Earth are similar to the emotions survivors feel after the death of a loved one. We change as we travel through our personal journey. The responses this week show that journey very well. It takes courage to write about the emotions we feel and to share them with the readers of this message. Karl revealed this week his ceaseless effort to create a memorial for his son. He also gave advice to other survivors who might want to do the same. Remember, whenever you feel down, spring will always come and TAPS is here to support you 24/7. You are never alone.

Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who wrote this week, send it to me and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them. 

We 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 emailing In order to have your reply included in the Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. Next week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message. 


Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

Keeping with the topic of change, let's share some of the things we have done to "pay it forward." How have you helped others newer in their journey of grief?  We look forward to your replies as you give ideas on how others may help newer survivors. 

 Song for the Week 

Eunah, mother of Eben,  sent two songs that remind her of her son. Eunah wrote, "Eben's high school graduation song was 'Wake Me Up' by Avicii. After he left for boot camp, this song took me to him whenever it played on the air. The second song is 'Danger Zone' by Kenny Loggins.  'Top Gun' was one of Eben's favorite movies. We played the song at his memorial service at Camp Pendleton and also at the funeral at home." 

Answers from Survivors 

From Leslie, mother of Eugene:  On the outside I put on a good face. I try to be strong for my surviving son and my dad. On the inside I have good days and not-so-good days. I stay in when I am inconsolable. I keep busy with things I like to do. I have grandkids to keep me from thinking. So, people don't notice a change. Yes, I have changed. I am more cautious, more loving, more generous and more moody. I hurt.

From Karl, father of Tre:  About four years ago, I contacted my district's state representative via email about memorial signs. He contacted me back and said he would work on it. It is literally an act of state congress to get the signs on the interstate. You can learn about it in the news video "Veteran Honored." However, it might be easier to contact your county commissioners and get a name on a local county road or bridge. The key is persistence. 

From Donna, mother of Eric:  In every way, I have changed. I used to be the patient teacher that took all the troublesome kids, took them under my wing and showed them through love and patience how to be successful. I have no patience for that behavior anymore. My thoughts are so jumbled, I just can't do that anymore.

I used to be the friend that you would want to have. I found fun or interesting things for us to do. I never backed out of plans. I was quick-witted and made everyone feel comfortable. I know I have true friends that love and support me because I'm not that friend anymore. I cancel my plans all the time and offer little support anymore. Thankfully, my dear ladies continue to try to get me out of the house and do something, anything.

I used to be the wife that always cooked and cleaned. I made treats for my husband to take to work. I wrote notes and put them in his lunch. I made sure he felt loved and appreciated. Now,  it seems I'm just wandering aimlessly through life. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive and understanding and has put his grieving on the back burner to help me trudge through mine.  It is not who I used to be at all.  

I keep thinking I'll get myself together soon and be a good wife and friend again. This has been a hard several months for me, and I'm not sure why. I'm kind of wallowing in self-pity right now.  Give me a while, and I'll be my new normal again.  

To sum it up in one sentence: Every single thing about me has changed, every single thing.


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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.  

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 800-959-8277.