Saturday Morning Message: TAPS Seminar Enjoyment

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Going to a TAPS Seminar for the first time can be stressful, especially if you are attending alone. I remember the first time I flew into the Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., for the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp held each May. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but when I entered the hotel, there were TAPS staff members waiting to meet those of us who were coming to participate in the seminar. I could feel the anxiety slipping away as those friendly people came to give hugs and talk about our loved ones. I knew from that moment that I had found a second home. Now, I find that is what I value most at seminars — seeing survivors come in and offering to help them get comfortable, especially those I have met online.

TAPS Seminars

Now, TAPS has many different events other than seminars, but this Saturday Morning Message is focused on seminars since the question came from a survivor who was attending one for the first time and was wondering what to expect. The picture this week comes from the TAPS website for the upcoming Tampa Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. To learn more about the 2017 seminars, go to Seminar Events on the TAPS website.

In addition to the thoughtful responses to this week’s question, you might want to read “Saturday Morning Message: Benefits of TAPS Seminars,” which I found in the TAPS archives.

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I 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.

One suggestion a survivor had was to include a song of the week, which is now a weekly section. If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it along with a sentence or two about what makes this song distinctive. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. You can sign up for Spotify for free to listen to the playlist.The playlist is called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance.”I often listen to it and think of our TAPS family while I am on the computer.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

Diane, mother of Caleb, sent in a question for this week. The question is: What are some things you have done that have helped you deal with your loved one not being here? We look forward to your answers.

Song for the Week

Mary, mother of David, sent the song of the week, which is “More Than A Name On A Wall” by the Statler Brothers. Mary wrote, “I have heard this song so many times, but before my Dave's passing, I never really listened to the words. As I played this song, which a friend of mine had posted on her Facebook timeline, I listened to each word and tears just rolled down my eyes. Yes, ‘his name is just more than a name on the wall.’ He is my precious son who died so others could live. My son is special and means so much to me. All I have are his memories, and he is more than a memory. Each word on this song is oh so true!”  

Answers from Survivors

From Kitty, mother of John: If you are referring to the individual regional seminars, I enjoy the interaction with the speaker, or speakers, and those present sharing within the seminar itself.

On the other hand, if you are referring to the entire seminar as a whole, I enjoy the camaraderie with the staff and fellow members on this grief journey. The special side trips — the Pentagon, parade, Silent Drill Platoon at the Marine Barracks, the night tour of D.C., and especially Arlington National Cemetery (ceremony and visitation of gravesites). They are truly memorable and sometimes life-changing.

Editor’s Note: The side trips that Kitty mentioned are from the TAPS National Military Seminar and Good Grief Camp held in the D.C. area over Memorial Day weekend each year.

From Robert, father of John: I am especially drawn to old friends and many new ones on this journey. Our visit to Arlington National Cemetery to visit Section 60 and the grave of a friend's brother, and Naval Academy classmates were the absolute epitome of any year we have attended the national seminar.

From Diane, mother of Caleb: I enjoy meeting other Gold Star moms and spending time with them and getting to know them. Just being together is a blessing, whether, we are listening to a speaker, doing a craft, sitting in a group setting where we’re discussing, eating together, or just passing in the halls.

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).