Saturday Morning Message: Eating While Grieving

Author: Carol Lane

Food is something needed for the body, but the desire for food often changes when people are grieving. Some find that nothing tastes good, and others eat foods that are not good for them. There are two articles from the TAPS Magazine archives that give some good advice on how to give your body needed nutrients when you're experiencing the emotions of grief. 

Food PrepGood Morning,

In "To Your Health: Eating to Live of Living to Eat?," Victoria H. Hawk, MPH, RD, CDE,gives tips on making sure your nutritional needs are met. She wrote:

"Take into account that you will have good days and bad days during your grief journey. Planning ahead for healthy, appetizing meals on the bad days is essential.

  • Have a supply of shelf-stable convenience foods on hand - items that are ready to eat with minimal preparation such as soups, frozen meals, and meal replacement shakes.
  • Buy foods that are quick and easy to prepare - bagged pre-washed vegetables, frozen vegetables, packages of pre-cooked brown rice, pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts, canned tuna, eggs, canned beans, chicken broth, and whole grain pasta.
  • Cook larger quantities of foods on good days and store some in the refrigerator or freezer for days when you are not able to cook.
  • Freeze foods in small portions that are easy to re-heat in the microwave oven."

Ruth W. Crocker, Ph.D., surviving spouse of Cpt. David R. Crocker Jr.,  shared her ideas in the article"Nutrition and Stress Finding Strength for Your Grieving Body." She suggested eating "wholesome foods in small quantities: whatever is appealing. Choose fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; easily digestible proteins like eggs, fish and poultry; nuts and seeds; low-fat dairy products." As food becomes more appealing, "choose protein, vegetables and complex carbohydrates like whole grains first. Then enjoy a small amount of sweetness, preferably something like a baked apple or a fruit custard made with low-fat milk. Eat slowly and mindfully, thinking of nourishment rather than the need to fill an empty place in the heart." 

These articles give great ideas about taking care of your body's physical needs while you are also working with the emotional side of grief. In that way, you can keep your body healthy. 

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. 

We can 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 respond to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing online@taps.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week's Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone who reads or sends comments.

Hugs,
Carol 

QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE 

This week's question came from two survivors, Kay, spouse of Kenny, and Linda, mother of Gene. They both were approaching upcoming difficult dates like birthdays, angelversaries or, in the case of spouses, wedding anniversaries. Their question is: How do other survivors mark days of remembrance? Your reply may help other survivors "celebrate the life" of their loved one.

  SONG FOR THE WEEK

Adra, mother of Kyle, sent the song for this week. Adra wrote, "My husband's family are Native Americans with Creek citizenship. I'll never forget seeing Kyle's obituary in the Muskogee Creek News; I was so grateful they published it. As with many Creeks, my husband's family is closely connected to the Cherokee. I'd like to share a Cherokee version of a song that meant a lot to Kyle. When we cleaned up Kyle's apartment after he passed, I found many journals. The first one I opened, which was by his computer and recording equipment, had lyrics and chords to "Amazing Grace" on the first page. Here's the Cherokee version of "Amazing Grace." It brings me peace even though I weep for us all."


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.