Saturday Morning Message: Favorite Photos and Introductions

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

This week, survivors sent pictures of their loved ones and wrote a bit about the picture, so I thought I would share a picture of my son, Bryon. He was a helicopter crew chief for the Marines. A friend took this picture when they were in the air, and it shows how much he loved what he was doing. I will remember that smile and the excitement in his voice when he called to tell me about his latest venture. 

Byron Lane

The photos today show how much each of these outstanding young people were loved and how much they are missed. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this week's Saturday Morning Message and all those who read it. 

Questions are the  backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. I am always looking for more. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at online@taps.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for songs that are meaningful to you and any thoughts you have that might make this weekly message more helpful. 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. 

Hugs,
Carol 

QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE 

This week's question came from Bonnie, mother of Andrew. The question this week is: What is your favorite food you like in the spring? Give a little explanation about why you like it. Bonnie wrote, "I am not just speaking about food for our bodies but also about food for our hearts. Remember that planning and preparing food is a gift that gives back, so it is feeding your needs. I love to cook and do so almost every day except for pizza nights, yum! However, since I lost my son and my husband, the cooking has changed for me. I still cook but often do not really enjoy it. I wind up feeding my neighbors and friends often as there is only so much you can or want to freeze. They actually do not mind at all!" 

  SONG FOR THE WEEK 

Diane, mother of Caleb, sent "You'll Be There" by George Strait for this week's song. Diane wrote, "A few days ago I was having a really hard day. I saw a sticky note with something written on it. It was the name of this song. I must've heard it at some time and wrote the title down. I looked on YouTube and listened. It was just what I needed. A line of the song says, 'I'll see you on the other side … It might be a long, hard ride, but I'm gonna take it.' I know I'll see Caleb again. This certainly is a long hard ride - but I'm gonna take it." 

ANSWERS FROM SURVIVORS  

Kyle, son of AdraFrom Adra, mother of Kyle: When Kyle completed basic training, I took this photo. I see in his eyes an awareness of what was before him. I see his pride and determination to serve our nation. He knew he would be headed to Afghanistan to support a fighting unit. I feel so proud of him when I see this photo. 

Andrew, son of BonnieFrom Bonnie, mother of Andrew: Here is one of my favorite photos of my son, Andy, on his first tour in Afghanistan. I did not see it until he died but was told how much he loved his "kids," as he called them, and he helped set up a clinic and school. He is the one in the middle with the huge medical bag. He got their attention first by taking this photo and having some fun, but they had no idea that inoculations, shots and dental checks were the next thing on the day's schedule! I miss him so much. 

David, son of KarenFrom Karen, mother of David: This is one of my favorite photos of my beautiful son, David, and I together. This was taken on Oct. 8, 2008, on his wedding day in Cancun, Mexico.The happiness in his smile and his embrace and love for me is definitely evident. Sadly, on Oct. 18, 2013, he took his life at age 32. Oh, what I wouldn't give to hug him. 

Benjamin, son of BelindaFrom Belinda, mother of Benjamin: I have a lot of photos of Benjamin that I love to look at, but this one reminds me of him before the demons of post-traumatic stress started chasing him. 

From Diane, mother of Caleb: I have a picture on the refrigerator of Caleb. He is probably in the second grade, and it was during Christmas. The children have coats on, and it looks like they are lining up, probably for the Christmas program at church. The little boy beside Caleb is directing him to look away - but Caleb is looking at me, a twinkle in his eye, as if to say, "I know where I'm going, but I'm looking at my mom right now." I love the picture because it speaks to me of his love and devotion to those he loved - always with a smile. Sigh. 

Eugene, son of LeslieFrom Leslie, mother of Eugene: The first picture is my son at 10. He was a tough kid to raise, especially as a single parent. He had an IQ of 173 and just had different ideas about everything. This is one of the few photos of him relaxed near the beach. He had no idea the photo was being taken, otherwise there would have been a funny face or he would have put his hand up. The Navy knew what to do with him, and he was most happy in the Intelligence field. The second picture was taken two months before he passed; he was 33. A happy young man! 


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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Breath of Fresh Air With TAPS Outdoors - Season 2

The Breath of Fresh Air series, presented by TAPS Outdoors, is for everyone and requires no previous outdoor experience! With bi-weekly videos and Campfire Chats, we'll help you find the right tips, tools and tricks to navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief.

In Season 2: Sowing Seeds, we will utilize the skills we developed over winter to plant seeds of hope for the flourishing summer ahead. Spring is the season of new beginnings, and we look forward to preparing the ground, planting seeds and growing with you in the journey to blooms. The official launch date is Wednesday, March 3.


Free Webinars Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

Gain valuable information and coping strategies through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing. In February, you have two opportunities to participate in free online sessions. 


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


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Tips And Resources To Help You Navigate All Stages Of An Emergency

Our hearts are with our TAPS Families impacted by recent winter weather. You are not alone. You've got this! And we've got you! We are always available to provide compassionate care to our military survivors in any circumstance. We also want to lessen the added stress you may be experiencing due to such emergencies. If you are in need of support, due to a natural disaster, contact our Casework Team at 202-588-TAPS (8277) or via email at casework@taps.org for information on available aid and supportive resources as well as read our TAPS Natural Disaster Response article.


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 info@taps.org.


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 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 202-588-8277.