Saturday Morning Message: The Help of Gardening

Author: Carol Lane


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.

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 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 and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

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).