Saturday Morning Message: Special Places

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

For those of us in the north, snowflakes are a big part of the winter season. When it snows, like it did last weekend, snowflakes change ordinary places with their unusual beauty. The special place I remember is the hill by our house. When my son, Bryon, was young, he loved to sled down the hill with his sister and friends, laughing all the way. It was a joy to see the children playing in the snow. When they came in, we would have hot chocolate and talk about these good times. It brings warmth to my heart just thinking about them. Thanks to the survivors who sent in those special places they remember this week. I know you will enjoy their perspectives.


This must be the week for unique things. We also have a very creative song of the week. Bonnie, mother of Andrew, sent the song. She wrote the lyrics and music, and she also sings it. I hope you click on the link to hear this tribute to her son.

You are an important component of the Saturday Morning Message. There is always a need for songs you find meaningful. It might be helpful to hear how others cope with grief, so please send in any questions or topics you may have. The only thing I ask is that the questions be applicable to all survivors and not just one group. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. If you find something a survivor has written that touches you, please send your comments to me and I will make sure they get passed on. Sometimes a kind thought is just the thing to bring light to the day of a fellow survivor. Send any thoughts you have to


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

This week’s question comes from the TAPS General Support Chat held each Tuesday for all survivors. We were talking about the difficulty survivors have when they wake during the night and can’t get back to sleep. After sharing some ideas, we thought it would be a good question to use for the Saturday Morning Message. The question is: When grief awakens you during the night, what do you do to relax and go back to sleep? This is particularly important for those survivors who have to go back to work soon after the death.

 ♫ Song for the Week 

Here is the song Bonnie, mother of Andrew, sent. It is titled, “American Soldier.” I thought you would also like to see the lyrics, which are printed below. 

“American Soldier”

By Bonnie Jo

© 2004


Live on, love on American dreamer

How did you learn that life should be this way?

Bring on, sing on, your precious stories

Five years old but so much to say 

Verse 1:

And in your innocence I found a new way

And when I tucked you in my heart always prayed

That with some patience we could build a new world

One of freedom with ALL flags unfurled 


Live on, love on American soldier

How did you learn that life should be this way?

Bring on, sing on, your untold stories

My love and prayers go with you today 

Verse 2:

For as you grew I stood by your side

And in my heart there has always been pride

You need to know that you have been my delight

May God keep you in the core of his light 


Live on, love on American soldier

How did you learn that life should be this way?

Bring on, sing on, your untold stories

My love and prayers go with you today 

Verse 3:

And as you go on to defend all our right

I send you out into the night

You have shown me the beauty inside

An American soldier in my eyes 

Chorus final:

Live on, love on American soldier

When did you learn that life should be this way

Bring on, sing on, your untold stories

Do you know how you have changed our lives today?

And may God keep you in the core of his light! 

Answers from Survivors:

From Robert, father of Louis: Before deploying, Louis asked if we would go with him and his family to SeaWorld and Universal Studios. The year after he was killed, the whole family (about 16 of us) went.

As with all things of this nature, it was a bittersweet experience, but we felt that we had to honor one of his last requests. We had a lot of fun during the day, but the nights were difficult thinking about who was missing.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Five days before Wes died by his own hand, we had dinner together at my house. We discussed plans to travel to Scotland together in order to research our ancestral genealogy. I was very excited to do this with him, and he was excited to go with me.

Scotland is not on my bucket list right now — maybe someday in the future. It would be too much of a reminder that these were our last plans, and the loss would be magnified if I went there alone.

From Kathy, mother of Charles: My son and I loved to fish. We had a place on the Little Susitna River where we spent a lot of time catching silver salmon. I haven't been there in years but would like to go back. So many wonderful memories are there; I hope to go back one day.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: For a few years, Eugene was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base. I hadn't seen him for some time and was anxious to spend his birthday and Christmas/Chanukah with him. Thankfully, he was able to get a week off, and we spent the week in Keystone. It was magical and wonderful — such a terrific mom/son vacation. But I can't go back. I want that week of memories kept just the way they are. I don't want to see the base or the ski resort without him.


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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.