Saturday Morning Message: Our Change of Thoughts on Mortality
Author: Carol Lane
The picture this week shows the sunset over the water. Although I don't live near a lake or the ocean, I do live by a relatively large river. It's one place I like to go to think about questions like the one from this week's Saturday Morning Message about the change of ideas after the death of a loved one.
In an article from the TAPS Magazine archives, "Hope in the Heavens," the author, Doug Windley, MDV, wrote, "TAPS refrains from political and religious persuasions, but we promote healthy healing and wellness in the wake of tragedy. This is a hallmark of our mission, and we are committed to the healing of bereaved military survivors. Moreover, we recognize that survivors come from a multitude of religious and faith backgrounds and encourage them to connect with their place of worship to help understand life, death and tragedy." The responses this week were thoughtfully considered and show a variety of introspections. I want to thank those who wrote and those who read this week's message.
I am always looking for more questions for future Saturday Morning Messages. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.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 thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or to share thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning 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.
One suggestion a survivor had was to include a song of the week, which is now a weekly section. 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. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. You can sign up for Spotify for free to listen to the playlist.The playlist is called "Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance." I often listen to it while I am on the computer and think of our TAPS family.
QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE
Next week's question came from Marsha, mother of Patrick. Recently, I told Marsha in conversation that I was named for my grandmother's sister, Caroline, who brought my father's parents to this country. Therefore, my name is Carol Lynn. We both thought it would be interesting to read how others received their name, so this week's question is: What is the story behind your loved one's or your name?
♫ SONG FOR THE WEEK
James, father of Andrew, sent "Stayin' Alive" sung by the Bee Gees as the song for this week. As Jim was driving, this song came on the radio. Jim writes, "That's the first song that Andy 'sent' to us after he passed. He frequently passes that song along to us at unique and opportune times."
Answers from Survivors
From Belinda, mother of Joseph: I have a strong faith in God but was always afraid of the process of dying. Since Benjamin died, I don't want to go anytime soon but am looking forward to seeing him again - after seeing Jesus, first of all. To know I'll spend eternity with Benjamin gives me peace.
Robert, father of Louis: I was not afraid and said, "Bring it on," but when my coronary artery was blocked I took care of myself. It's easier said than done.
From Mary, mother of David: My change and outlook on death, now that my son is no longer here, is with mixed feelings. I can hardly wait to see him again and no longer have this deep sorrow in my life since his passing. I am no longer afraid to die. The negative side of this new feeling is that I do not want to leave my loved ones, my daughter and husband, behind. So the idea of leaving them scares me, and I have mixed feelings about facing death.
From Leslie, mother of Eugene: My thoughts on my death are varied. I have health issues and sometimes am welcomed at the doctor's office by the comment, "You are still alive." Not a great feeling. That said, sometimes I feel like it would be better to go sooner, but I am too feisty to die. We're expecting our 10th grandchild in August, and I have things to teach this little boy! Sometimes I miss my son so much that the grief grips my heart like a vise. I want to be with him so badly, but I imagine this world without me and that feeling leaves.
From James, father of Andrew: For me, I guess the short answer is that now I more strongly believe that we "pass on" when we die. I wasn't a "doubting Thomas," but that understanding is part of the essence of me now, which, as many of you realize, is a transcendent difference. A similarity might be seeing an incredible natural wonder for the first time, like the Grand Canyon. You've seen it before in pictures, in movies and on TV. You believe that it's incredible and awe-inspiring. But none of that compares with or stays with you like when you actually see it and experience it for the first time. As we know, our experiences imprint upon our souls so much more.
I am not "content" thinking about my son's death or my own. But my son has provided me with a unique contentment through the many actions and signs that he shares with us. Andy keeps nudging me to realize that there are so many areas and ideas about which I can and should keep growing - my thoughts about life, death and "passing on" are just a few. I also realize that, for me, there are relevant things to work at accomplishing while here as I try to pay attention to the hand or hands that try to guide us.
From Kitty, mother of John: It makes my own death seem more real, more eminent. The end of life on earth is what each one of us will one day encounter. I don't fear death, as most people do, as I'll be with my Savior, my son, my parents and other family members and friends who were believers. Before John's passing, my husband and I had purchased our gravesite, and set up our living will and trust account. Since then, I've made arrangements with the Neptune Society for my cremation. I have also preplanned my memorial service with a list of songs, hymns and scriptures. It is kept in my Bible. It helps family members to be assured that you will be remembered and honored according to your wishes.