Saturday Morning Message: Helpful Collections

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

One day at the cemetery, a butterfly landed on my side. That had never happened before, and I took it as a sign from my son, Bryon. After that, I began buying artificial butterflies to put in my house plants and other places around the house. This is a picture of one of them that I would like to share with all of you today. Even though I don’t buy them as much anymore, the joy they give me when I look around the house is amazing. It is strange how something as small as a butterfly can give you a lift. I hope you enjoy reading this message and seeing what other survivors find helpful.

Saturday Morning Message

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.

You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing 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 it to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew, sent this question: “Do you like to share stories about your loved one? What memories do you have — funny, sad, cute or important to you — that are so precious you just want to share them?" We look forward to reading your responses.

Song for the Week

Rosenda, sister of Robreno, wrote, “We just recently attended our first seminar in Austin. I have a very reserved personality, so I didn't make any instant friends. However, when we arrived, we were welcomed by not only TAPS employees but also many survivors who helped guide us through the check-in process. The ability to choose from different classes allowed it to feel personalized and tailored to our different needs. Initially, it was difficult to leave my kids with complete strangers, but they felt accepted and made new best friends. My entire family is looking forward to going to another one. Other members of my family are now interested in going to one after we shared our experiences.”  

Rosenda suggested Linkin Park’s “One More Light” for the song this week. She thinks it reflects the atmosphere of a TAPS seminar as a place where everyone cares about each other and their loved ones.

Answers from Survivors

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew: Since we got married, Bob and I bought a new painting each year around our anniversary from 

Wildlife Artists, renowned for their authenticity. The first was a beautiful eagle painting that I still have over my fireplace. Often, eagles were a sidekick to the American flags we had all over our properties.

My daughter, an environmental scientist, was working in one of her various jobs in charge of studying the eagles. She was watching them with their eggs ready to hatch in a tree in Minnesota. She had to tell the company they could not disturb the nest until the babies were hatched and flew off. Ha, I realized then that eagles were a big part of our lives over time.

When Andy was killed, we held his funeral after a get-together at our church. As I was outside, a woman who did all the planting for the church garden came up to me and said, “Bonnie, I was out here today after the funeral, and I saw an eagle on top of the church steeple. I have never seen that before in all the years I have been here planting flowers.”

Then, my community where I was living planted a tree for Andy and Bob and I would always maintain it, watering and planting flowers, etc. One day we went out there to view it, and as we were standing there along came an eagle that landed on this 1-year-old tree! Oh, my! We cried for quite a while.

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Marcia, mother of Patrick: When my son, nicknamed "Crazy Turtle" in his Frontier Scouting days, died, it seemed as if there were turtles everywhere — in the stores, at the pond, on TV, in internet ads. At first, it was painful to see them — to be reminded like that. But one day I bought a large resin turtle for Patrick's grave. After that, I began buying all sorts like glass paper-weight turtles, ceramic turtles for the garden, turtle planters for the porch. Friends and family began to drop off even more, including a lovely papier-mache turtle from Honduras. I now have a wide assortment of turtles I treasure as a wonderful reminder of my son, my "Crazy Turtle."

I overheard a neighbor one day saying to her little son, "You know how Nanny Marcia likes to put pretend turtles around her garden? That's because it makes her think happy thoughts of her son." I couldn't have said it better myself! 


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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

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, 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.