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.


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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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Celebrating National Mentoring Month

During this National Mentoring Month, we want to express our gratitude for all of our mentors:

  • TAPS Peer Mentors who take their experience as a military survivor and offer support to those new to grief.
  • Military and Legacy Mentors who companion the youngest members of our family, offering a safe and supportive community.

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn throughout the month, where we will be sharing resources and articles about mentoring, along with quotes and testimonials from our mentors and mentees.

Webinar: Mindfulness as Your Superpower

On Thursday, January 28 at 12 p.m. Eastern, the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing® will present a free webinar, "Mindfulness as Your Superpower."

Mindfulness isn’t just for naturally calm people. It is a superpower that can help us cope with the most challenging emotions—even grief. Using superhero case examples, during this workshop, you will learn how mindfulness can help you navigate loss, improve your health, and cultivate much-needed compassion for your grieving heart. 

Join TAPS At One of Our 2021 Seminars

Registration is now open for our 2021 Regional Seminars and our National Military Survivor Seminar. In - Person and Virtual Opportunities are available.

TAPS Seminars offer a comprehensive model of care that brings together adult survivors of all ages for a weekend of hope and healing. Whether you recently lost your hero, have lived many years without them or are somewhere in between, TAPS Seminars are designed to meet you where you are in your grief journey. 

Breath of Fresh Air with TAPS Outdoors: Breathing In The New Year

TAPS Outdoors wants to help you reconnect with the natural world in simple yet meaningful ways with weekly activities you can do anywhere. (Yes, we really mean anywhere.) Our goal is to connect you with the healing power of nature no matter where you live and give you the tools to make meaning out of your experiences. 

As many of us have experienced in our grief, a year of great loss and challenge can also give way to new life and hope. Join us in January for Breathing In The New Year, as we transition into a new year and explore the wild, forging new paths together in our hearts and set foot on trails we've yet to see. 

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

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We're All In This Together

COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at

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Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

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 202-588-8277.