Saturday Morning Message: The Help of Gardening

Author: Carol Lane

Garden

Good morning,

This was the perfect question for those of us in the north who seem to be waiting a bit longer for spring to come this year. The pictures are so beautiful and I know they will bring a smile to this week’s readers. I thought I would start with last year’s picture of the garden my husband, Ed, and I maintain each year that has been set up for the military losses from our town. The sign is from the Hartford Garden Friends who supply us with the flowers annually. Today you will read about other gardens both outside and in the house that are cared for by our TAPS friends. Thank you for those who replied and those who read the Saturday Morning Message.

Hugs,
Carol, surviving mother of Bryon

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

We haven’t had a question introducing our loved ones to others for a while. It is always so interesting to meet them through your writing, so the question this week is: What is one story you would like to share that would help us know your loved one? We look forward to your responses.

Song for the Week

Tina, mother of Jonathan, sent the song this week. She wrote “I have had my ups and downs, and a friend reminded me of a song that I played from the time it came out, so I wanted to share it. I always listen to the version of the song with the testimony to remind me that even those with the utmost faith can sometimes get down. The song is “Even If” by MercyMe.”

Earlier this week on the TAPS Facebook page is a link to an article about Andy and Julianne Weiss titled: Volunteer Spotlight: Surviving Military Parents Advocate For Fellow Survivors. I thought it would be good to read about them since Andy is the one who makes the 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.

Answers from Survivors

Last Week's Question: Has gardening helped you mourn your loss and heal? And if so, what do you plant and why?

HummingbirdFrom Alida, mother of Nathan: At first gardening really did help.There was a time I didn't work for two years. At that time, gardening was good therapy. Now that I am working full time, gardening flowers that attract hummers are enjoyable, veggies, on the other hand, are more of a chore to take care of than a means of relaxation.

 

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Wes's birthday is March 28 and there are usually pansies available at the local nurseries then. I plant them in a window box that I can see out my kitchen window and in the two urns at my front door. They are so cheery and give me hope that the growing season and beauty in our yards is just around the corner.

On my pond, I have a small angel statue reading a book. Wes was an "out-of-sight" reader well beyond his years and when I look at that angel, I have such fond memories of talking about stories we read together.   

 

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Andi, mother of Jacob: My son Jacob loved how we always gardened together. I will never forget his pride in growing pumpkins when he was 4. He died last May at the age of 29, after six years in the Air Force. Last fall I planted dozens of pink tulip bulbs in my garden, his grandparents’ garden, and the church memorial garden where his ashes rest. They are a sign of new life for us this year as we miss him so intensely. I plan to add more bulbs and other summer and fall flowers over the years so that even though he is not with us his gardens will grow.

 

Garden with crossFrom Michele, mother of Stephen: I have always loved to plant flowers around my deck. They are not only pretty but make me feel happy. Now that my son has passed, I have a spot that I plant some containers, with some special items for him. The one item that I put in a container is a solar cross that represents our flag, and at night it lights up. It gives me peace inside and makes me feel my son is pleased with how I honor him with my display. When I sit outside, either to have my coffee in the morning or evening, I feel he is always with me. I sit out there, constantly talk to him and share my thoughts and feelings. It sometimes makes me cry, but at the end of my conversation with him, I feel close to him as if he were totally sitting right across from me just listening with his little smile that I so love seeing on his face.

 

CactusFrom Leslie, mother of Eugene: This cactus, which blooms once in several years for one day, was given to me by Eugene. It was one of those 50-cent presents he gave me when he was 5 years old from religious school for the holiday. I have nurtured this plant for 36 years, which is now 4.5 feet tall. It takes three people to hold this plant when it’s transplant time. Gene was always amazed that I not only kept it alive but took it with me wherever I moved. It’s my treasure.

 

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. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing online@taps.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the next week’s message, it is best to send your answers to me by Tuesday of the following week.

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to online@taps.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS

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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 illnessloss@taps.org.

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 smile.amazon.com, 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 online@taps.org.

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.