Saturday Morning Message: Online Support
Author: Carol Lane
This picture comes from the new TAPS website. When you need support, this is the place to look. Everything TAPS has to offer is listed here. Some of the listings are the helpline that is available 24/7 at 800-959-TAPS (8277), upcoming events and resources such as casework or the survivor care team. There are also a variety of programs, including the TAPS Online Community, which links you with other survivors through chats, message boards and a new blog section as well as many other ways to find support.
The Writers’ Circle Newsletter is another opportunity that might interest you if you find comfort and strength in writing and reading stories and thoughts from others. This is a closed group that is not posted on the website but goes out to only those who have signed up for it. The Writers’ Circle Newsletter offers an opportunity to express thoughts through poems, prose, stories or song. Contributions are from the hearts of fellow survivors. They are creative pieces that offer insight and hope as we celebrate the lives of our loved ones.
We at the Online Community invite you to be a part of this wonderful outreach and connection. Whether you write or simply read the contributions of others, join together in growing this special sharing circle. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and to be added to our mailing list. As with the Saturday Morning Message, I directly receive the emails sent to this address.
There was an error in last week’s message. The response attributed to Kellie, spouse of Mark and TAPS Manager, Peer Mentor Program and Online Care, was actually written by Kathy, spouse of Les and sister of Richard.
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 email@example.com. 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 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.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
This week’s question came from an idea that Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew, sent along with an article in the Spring 2017 TAPS Magazine, titled, “Making Memories at Mealtimes.” Since Fourth of July is coming up, it might be interesting to share some ideas with each other. The question is: What was the favorite food your loved one enjoyed? Tell us about it, and you can include a picture and/or a recipe if you like.
♫ Song for the Week
Caryn, mother of Nathan and spouse of Micheal Sr., sent the song this week, “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx. Caryn wrote, “When I hear this song, once again I'm reminded love is eternal. The words, ‘I'll be right here waiting for you’ are exactly what I tell Micheal and Nathan all the time. I'm here waiting for your signs, just like you're there waiting for me to come home.”
Answers from Survivors
From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I have not used the Internet for my grief unless you include Saturday blogging with TAPS. I find grieving is personal, and only someone like those of us at TAPS who have the same loss can understand. I find that on my "overwhelming" days I go for a ride and talk to my son. There is no answer to grieving. It comes and goes in waves. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to go with it.
From Adra, mother of Kyle: By far the online tool that has made the most difference has been the TAPS website. Within days of losing Kyle, I realized I was in shock and in trouble. A quick Google search led to discovering the TAPS website and the 24-hour helpline. I found a caring voice on the other end of the phone, listening with such compassion and asking caring questions. I signed up to use the TAPS Online Community. Reading the stories, posts and conversations of this caring community made me see that I have a long road ahead, but that I am not alone in having lost a soldier who had served our country well. The website gives me access to many tools, like the chat schedule and upcoming events. The articles and resources are well-considered and have helped me through some difficult days. I've shared the professional resources with my personal grief counselor and the HR personnel at work. My favorite tool, though, is the Saturday Morning Message. I look forward to hearing from other survivors. Their insights and stories sustain me.
Pinterest is also an important tool for me. I use it to "collect" quotations about grief and loss. Surprisingly, I have more than 50 people who follow the two boards I maintain, one on grief in general and the other specific to Kyle. Facebook is also an important tool. I have several go-to Facebook pages that help me feel connected to the military survivors community. Also, I've maintained Kyle's Facebook page, which has allowed me contact with some of his military friends. Some of the most precious of comments have come from his comrades in arms. I treasure the comments that came from these brave men and women who wrote to me of Kyle's infectious smile, his smarts and his selfless giving to other soldiers in need.