Saturday Morning Message: Benefits of TAPS Seminars
Author: Carol Lane
In this picture, you can see the smiles on these survivors' faces as they hug each other. For me, that is the best part of attending a TAPS Seminar. I spend a lot of time on the computer, but when I go to a TAPS Seminar, I get to meet other survivors in person. We can go to the workshops and events that are planned or just sit, have a cup of coffee and talk for as long as we want. Survivors come from all over the country, so we usually don't have a chance to meet in person except at a TAPS Seminar.
When I first went to a seminar, I thought everyone would sit around crying, but I soon found out that survivors could also smile as we shared memories of our loved ones. Now when I go, I look forward to meeting those with whom I am in contact through the Saturday Morning Message, the Writers' Circle Newsletter and the chats that I co-moderate. I also seek out those who look lost and need a hug or just someone to sit and talk. Connecting with others helps me, and I have made lifelong friends from going to the TAPS Seminars. Later in this message, you will read what other survivors have to say about the benefits of the seminars.
You can learn more and sign up for our 2017 seminars on the TAPS website under Survivor Events. We hope you'll join us at a seminar this year.
This week, there were many survivors who sent me topics and songs for future Saturday Morning Messages, but I am always looking for more. If you have a question or would like to read how other survivors respond to a topic you have, please send them to email@example.com. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. 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.
I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. In order to have your reply included, it is best to send it to me by Tuesday afternoon of the following week.
I wanted to share some information about the Writers' Circle Newsletter. It is a monthly newsletter that goes out to those survivors who sign up for it. It provides a forum for those who like to write about their grief journey in a way that does not answer a question from the Saturday Morning Message. The submissions can be prose, poems, or any other way the survivor wishes to communicate feelings. If that sounds like it would be of interest to you, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be included in the upcoming March newsletter.
Thank you to all who contributed to this week's message as well as those who read it.
QUESTION FOR NEXT WEEK'S SATURDAY MORNING MESSAGE
This week's question and song centers around the changes in our lives that are brought on by the deaths of the most precious people in our lives. I look forward to your responses.
Bonnie, mother of Andrew, came up with a great reflective question. There is no right or wrong answer because we are all different. Sometimes knowing ourselves helps us understand our emotions. I know her question made me sit down and think a bit. Bonnie wrote, "Life is a seesaw with continual ups and downs. How do you handle the balance of it? Do you react right away when something happens or sit back a bit? Do you reach out to others or hold it all inside?"
♫ SONG FOR THE WEEK
Adra, mother of Kyle, sent the song for this week, which is "Landslide," written and sung by Stevie Nicks. Adra wrote, "Landslide is about the risk of loving. Seasons in our lives change, love grows and we climb mountains. The risk of a landslide only increases. Still, we climb mountains; still, we love."
ANSWERS FROM SURVIVORS
From Belinda, mother of Benjamin: The National Suicide Survivor Seminar last October in St. Petersburg, Florida, was the first one Glen and I attended. Benjamin had only been gone nine months, but I felt a compulsive need to go. Thank God I did! What impressed me most was the fact that others understood my pain in a way no one else did or could. I wasn't alone, and I desperately needed to know that. Glen and I made new friends that weekend who will last a lifetime.
From Robert, father of Louis: I think the most important thing was the sense of community with everyone. Some thoughts we usually keep to ourselves could be shared because we all understood the depth of our loss. We all could say his or her name without worrying people will think we're obsessed.
From Don, father of Joshua: I find a lot of comfort when I come to a TAPS Seminar. I love reconnecting with old friends whom I now consider family. Even more important to me is meeting new survivors who may seem lost and out of place. I find I benefit from offering them a compassionate listening ear and showing them how they fit in with this group none of us wanted to be a part of. I get more out of welcoming them than they do. There isn't much I remember about my early days of grief. However, I do remember how I felt when others did the same for me. A warm smile, a gentle hug, a firm handshake and comforting words can make a big difference to someone new in their grief, and I love sharing them with anyone willing to receive.