Saturday Morning Message: Taking Care Of Ourselves

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The picture today is of a rose poinsettia that is sitting on my dining room table. I wanted to share it with you as this is one way I take some time just to enjoy what I like. I wander through our local garden center and look at all the beautiful flowers. Many of you know I live in the northern part of our country, so the winter can be very drab without color. Every so often I give myself a gift of a plant to brighten the days, and this is one of them.

Poinsettia Flowers

It is important to take care of ourselves, especially with the upcoming holidays. Often we spend so much time helping others that we forget about ourselves.

In addition to the responses from survivors today, here are some other ideas that came from an article on the TAPS website titled4 Ways to Find the Light This Holiday Season,written by Zaneta Gileno. In the article, she lists four ways that are perfect for the topic of this week’s Saturday Morning Message.

Zaneta wrote:

1. Set an intention.

Set an intention for your holiday season — one that gives you the freedom to maintain a routine, exit the gathering when it has been too much, cry without reservation or feel joy when it comes to your heart. Decide what you need and do your best to surround yourself with those who will honor your intention.

2. Honor the past.

As a TAPS family, we strive to honor the love that remains when our hero is no longer with us. Take a moment this season to think about a cherished memory you shared together and share it with someone. Keeping that memory alive brings comfort and helps us celebrate the life they lived.

3. Have faith that the light will come.

Look to others you admire for their strength and courage, and reach out to them for comfort if you need it. Reading the TAPS Magazine or blog can help change the focus to how others have managed to have meaningful holidays after their loved one has died.

4. Seek support from your tribe.

As a family of military loss survivors, we are more than 70,000 strong. Make a list of those you are able to count on for support and don't forget to add TAPS to the list. You can call us 24/7. We are here. Sharing the journey of pain helps us to transform that pain to purpose. Leaning on the stories and courage of others can make all the difference. Remember you are not alone.

I want to thank those who responded this week and those who read the Saturday Morning MessageI am always looking for questions for future messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you.

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

Cheryl, mother of Jack, recently suffered another death of a close loved one in her family. She is looking for reflections from others who have had this experience, so the question this week is: How did you deal with new grief while still grieving the previous loss?

Song for the Week

Allicia, daughter of Burr, sent the song of the week, which is “Make Your Own Kind of Music” sung by Mama Cass. Allicia wrote, “From the time I can remember we had the Mama Cass record with my mom's things, and my mom would sing some of her songs to me. It was my favorite. As I got older it was my go-to when I was in a bad mood or needed to feel empowered. When my cousin was blessing her baby, my Uncle Kelly was in my car and his youngest daughter, Christine, was sitting in the back seat. I asked him, "When I was little, we had this record and I wanted to know if it was my dad's or mom's?" I started playing it and he got a big smile on his face and said, 'Mama Cass! Yeah ... that was your dad's.'" When the chorus came on all three of us started belting out 'Make Your Own Kind of Music'!”

Answers from Survivors

Cella, wife of Daniel: My New Years resolution!

My husband Daniel passed away four months ago, and right now I want to achieve some of the goals we had set for ourselves as a couple. I plan on running in the Marine Corps Marathon in 2018. My husband had signed me up to complete this in 2016, but due to some illnesses and injuries I had to hold off. My second goal is to complete the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certification and finally go scuba diving. Daniel was certified and scuba diving was the one thing that helped him with his PTSD and tinnitus. We had set plans to go scuba diving together for our anniversary this year at the keys in Florida. Both of these goals will still help me to keep feeling close to him as well as hopefully make me feel better physically and mentally.

Merry, mother of Wesley: Resolutions — so far — get a job, at least a part-time job. The Littleton School District is advertising. Strengthen my muscles for sure as winter makes my yard work less of a priority. Read more instead of TV.  Develop a strategy to clean my house.  Keep in touch with TAPS chat.


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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.