Saturday Morning Message: Support from Loved Ones

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

The picture today comes from the TAPS Magazine archives. Although our loved one's friends don't just include battle buddies, the article "Team TAPS: Battle Buddies" shares how some have honored their fallen comrades. Today's replies include many different ways our loved one's friends  have helped survivors.

Team TAPS Battle Buddies Runners

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. 

In addition to the ideas shared below, 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 reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing online@taps.org. 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 responding this week and those who read this message. 

Hugs,
Carol 

QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE 

We haven't had a question about memories for a long time. This week's question will be: Is there a special place you visited or would have liked to visit with your loved one?It might be a place you have visited before, somewhere you have never been or a place you have avoided since your loss. I look forward to your answers.

  SONG FOR THE WEEK 

Thais, mother of Dwayne, sent this week's song. Thais wrote, "I'd like to dedicate a song, 'Some Gave All' by Billy Ray Cyrus, not only to my son, Dwayne, but also to everyone who has a loss of a family member AND the family members themselves. They, as well, gave all." 

ANSWERS FROM SURVIVORS 

Caryn, mother of Nathanand spouse of Micheal: Having my son's friends continue to stay in touch with me has definitely helped my healing process. Hearing stories and receiving photos from his military friends was exciting because that was new information. And his friends at home maintain contact with me. It's always nice knowing your child had good friends who cared. 

Donna, mother of Eric: I stay in touch with all of his friends from elementary school, high school and the military. Our house was the fun house with a pool, hot tub, volleyball and game room. We got to know all of his school friends well. We get to be grammy and poppy to lots of their kids. Each year on Eric's birthday, we go bowling. You'd think over time the number of friends attending would dwindle. Quite the opposite, the number grows every year. I think the more friends that come, the more friends see that is OK to celebrate his beautiful life. It's heartwarming to see what terrific friends he had who have stayed so loyal.  

We are friends with his fellow Marines on Facebook and keep up with them as well. Many have come to visit. Two came to live here and many send flowers for Mother's Day. I know quite a bit about each friend, so whatever troubles one is having I know which friend to call on to help them.

Losing our only child left me feeling like I wasn't a mother anymore. But these friends let me mother them. They discuss hopes and dreams and problems with me, and they let me help guide them in the right direction - just like a mom. I couldn't make it without all of them. I'm much better focusing on getting one of them through an issue than sitting and wallowing in my sorrow, and as many "children" as I have now, there's always one going through something. I'm useful again! Eric loved all of his friends and they loved him, therefore we love them.

Bonnie, mother of Andrew: Thinking about last week's question, I have a suggestion from my heart. It is so hard to lose a loved one, as you all know. Keeping others in your life is important, for sure, but keeping some distance is also important. When you feel it is pertinent to keep up the communication, well, you should do it and might benefit from it. But sometimes it is counterproductive and needs to be addressed. I found that out the hard way but learned from my trusted sources, my son's team of Army Green Berets who call me the "momma of the knuckleheads." I love them, and they are always there for me.

Let me just say that selecting your trusted sources is the best way to ensure that you have the best care for yourself. It is hard enough to go through grief and loneliness alone, but having caring support in your life is critical.

Be careful in choosing the ones you trust. All of us have to go through tough times as we handle the challenges of life after the death of a loved one. Picking and choosing the folks we associate with are important, and do not forget that we all have TAPS to also get in touch with to get us on the right path.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Yes, I stay connected to some of my son's friends. I thought I  knew my child until I talked to his friends.They know him differently, so I learned more about my child and what kind of man he became. I must say that I was lucky. My son, who was not the greatest teen, became quite the man. I wouldn't know as much without his friends, who are terrific men and women. 

Anne, mother of Michael: I love staying in contact with some of my son's friends. They are a part of Michael and loved him so much. I love keeping the memory of Michael alive through our family, his family and his friends. So many people don't even want to talk about someone they loved who died, but I always love to talk about my son and now my husband because they were here on earth, they did exist and I do not ever want them to be forgotten! I feel blessed to have had such fine men in my life that reflected honor, love and courage! 

From Diane, mother of Caleb: I do stay connected with Caleb's friends. I love when I get to see them or talk to them. I think it's healing for both of us. I connect to a part of Caleb's life. When they talk to me, they are connecting with Caleb as well. We have a heart connection that no one else has. The Marine brothers can tell me stories about training, deployments, and adventures and time spent with Caleb. They give me insight to the life my son loved. When I run into a classmate, or someone who knew Caleb growing up, I encourage conversation about my son. Hearing about him is life to me. Hearing from those who love him is so special - we have a heart connection because of the love we share.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS

chat icon

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

calendar icon

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.

pencil icon

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.

shopping cart icon

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.