Saturday Morning Message: Holiday Traditions

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

After the loss of a loved one, many find it hard to observe holidays. Today two articles are shared that talk about reaching for the light through the darkness at this time of year.

Tree Lights

Kim Ruocco wrote a very meaningful article. The list of thoughts she included are listed below. To read the whole article, go to  “Finding New Perspective on Holiday Traditions When You’re Grieving” In the article, Kim talks about the early years in her family without her husband as well as explaining the five principles her family now follows:

1. Incorporate Some Old Traditions

2. Make New Traditions

3. Honor And Remember Your Loved One

4. Respect Each Other’s Grief Journey

5. Be Gentle with Yourself

Traci Voelke shares the story of Hanukkah in her article titled. “In Moments of Darkness, Hanukkah Reminds Us to Search for the Light”. Traci writes, “We light eight candles on the menorah, one for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. The ninth candle on the menorah, the shamash, is lit first and then its flame is distributed to light each of the remaining candles. We keep the shamash candle close to all the other candles so that if one blows out the shamash can relight the extinguished candle.” She compares that with “the family, friends and colleagues who stand behind us and relight our candles when they have seemed to have blown out — when our lights become extinguished. They are the helpers moving us all toward the light and giving hope of a brighter future.”   


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Since this week is a time when people might be away, this might be a good time to collect questions you might have to use for future Saturday Morning Messages. Think about questions you might have about the grieving journey. Sometimes it helps to read how others cope. Also please send songs that are special to you with a few sentences about the song. 

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. 

♫ Song for the Week 

Caryn, mother of Nathan sent the song of the week which is “Time in a Bottle” sung by Jim Croce. She wrote this song "reminds me that regardless of anything, love is everlasting and we will be back together again someday." 

Answers from Survivors

Wesley Snyder HeadstoneFrom Merry, mother of Wesley: I did something different at Wes's grave this year.  Instead of waiting until Saturday, December 16 for Wreaths Across America, I placed a wreath on his grave complete with a U.S. Marine Corps bear on December 1. Fort Logan National Cemetery allows wreaths and such from December 1 until January 20. I was supposed to go over this morning and celebrate with the throngs, but have decided to do that later. For some reason, I don't want to be there with a big crowd. For me, it's private this year. This could be a tradition now - December 1 is the day to place a wreath of remembrance.

From Carol, mother of Bryon: When Bryon was stationed in California, he called very excited and told me that he had been part of the Marines who handed out toys to children in the Toys for Tots program. So a new tradition I have to honor him is to go to the local Toys for Tots station and write a check for them. We talk for a while and they tell me about the program in our area and how much it helps the children. 

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

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

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).