Saturday Morning Message: Introductions

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Since this week the Saturday Morning Message topic is about introductions, I thought I would open with a picture of my son, Bryon, doing what he loved to do. He was a crew chief on USMC helicopters. You can see by the smile on his face that he loved it. I am going to keep my comments short this week, because there were so many wonderful memories that were shared. Please enjoy this week’s message.

Hugs,
Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

 

Byron Lane

 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

From Michele, mother of Stephen: I lost my son four years ago. When it comes to his birthday, I always make his special meal, my husband and I go to the cemetery to put flowers on his grave, and we sing happy birthday to him. My oldest son is going to Europe at the end of August and returning home the sixth of September. I will be watching his dog in Florida. Of course, I said to him,"You didn't plan this well because it is your brother’s birthday on the fifth of September." He said to me, “Life goes on and I need to get on with life.” My response was,"I have gotten on with my life, but I still grieve your brother, and will always continue to celebrate his life." My question  is: How do you respond to family members when they make comments about why you still celebrate your loved one’s birthdays or any special day? 

 

♫ Song for the Week 

From Kimberly, sister of Casey: The night of my wedding reception, I went to find Casey to dance with him. When I found him I asked him to dance and his response was, "No. This isn't the right song." Boy was I mad. I told him it was my wedding and I should get my way. He completely ignored me, so I danced with someone else. A few songs later the song "I Loved Her First" started playing. I was confused because that was the song my dad and I danced to for the father/daughter dance.Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around, there was Casey. He said, "Now I will dance with you because I want you to know that I will always be here for you and I loved you first." Needless to say, I felt horrible about earlier and then I cried throughout the entire dance because I was so touched by his thoughtfulness. He laughed and laughed because he got one over on me, yet again. 

 

Answers from Survivors

Last week’s question: What is one story you would like to share that would help us know your loved one?

PrestonSamantha and Preston

From Samantha, fiance of Preston: Preston and I went to the movies for our first date. We were walking back to our cars and he told me he had some flowers for me. I thought that was very sweet and then he had pulled out a 5-pound bag of flour. I could not stop laughing. He then handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Months later, we brought that bag of flour into our new apartment and used it to bake all types of sweets. I knew then that I would love him forever. 

From Alexis, wife of George: My daughters had already lost their dad, but George stepped up to be an amazing father to them. He embraced all of us as his own, at a time when we felt so lost and alone, and life felt so good with him. He was transferred to California when I was three months pregnant. My daughters and I drove with him to California. On the drive out, we stopped at sights we saw from the road. I remember the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and sitting with him in the amphitheater with our girls as the bats flew out in finger-like expansions into the sky. It was wondrous. We visited the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater, the Grand Canyon, and finally reached the shores of California. He stopped to let our girls go run on the beach and thru the water touching the Pacific Ocean for the first time. There could not have been a better trip, even if we had planned it.     

When we didn't get a house, George wanted us to go home until a house was available. We did for a while, but I went back to visit over the holiday. I spent my days waiting for him to get off work and I would go walk by the beach, missing my girls who were staying with their godfather. There were sea lions along the beach that I could watch from a distance. I brought music with me, because hours would pass. One day, I was dancing on the beach, playing around to pass time. My husband came up behind me, taking hold of me and danced with me. I was so surprised, because he had gotten off early that day and was looking for me, and was so quick to join me in my dance on the shore. It was beautiful and so romantic. It's a memory that makes me cry, but I will treasure it.

AndrewAndrew

From Bonnie, mother of Andrew: He had the most generous and fun personality ever. He made friends wherever he went and of all ages. If you asked him for a bite of his cookie, he would take a tiny piece off for himself and then turn around and give you the rest. In high school at lunch break, he collected the change from his friends who could not be bothered to put it back into their pockets because it was too much work. He talked to the lunch monitor and set up a program to save and donate the money to the homeless and less fortunate in the area.

Andy was also a volunteer of the New York City Fire Department and to this day his best buddy wears Andy’s hat earned from medic service in New York during his training for the title of Green Beret and medic. Andy always said, “Hey, this  cap is a great date-getter!’ I bet it was, but his heart was always there for his brothers-in-arms.

From Sheryl, mother of Adam: When Adam wanted to do something, he was determined. If he didn't want to do something, it was about impossible to get him started. When Adam was in eighth grade, he cut his knee down to the bone and had 16 stitches. A few weeks later was the Mount Rushmore Boy Scout Pilgrimage. He was determined to go......and I let him. The stitches were out, but the doctor wouldn't guarantee that the cut would stay closed. I taped it and wrapped an Ace bandage around his knee. The trail was rated easy to moderate, but we climbed over dead falls. Adam hiked the entire 6 miles, up and down hill and vale, without a complaint. He loved the Black Hills and nature.

From James, father of Andrew: Andy liked to “disarm” others – quite often with humor. Once in karate when he was a teenager, he and others were going from their dojo to another dojo for the first time. Based on stories they had heard, the students from his dojo were intimidated by the master at the other dojo. Even though he was also intimidated, Andy didn’t show it; but he did show his humorous side. With it, he broke the ice and put everyone more at ease. It helped all to see that although respect was obviously appropriate to demonstrate, fear of the master wasn’t needed. At a milestone ceremony for his karate school last year, they posthumously bestowed upon Andy the rank of third degree black belt. With a smile and grin, the master recounted that story of the first time he met Andy. The associated plaque that hangs in their dojo says “his infectious positivity will remain with those who knew him, always.” I think it likely was also that a smile and a grin came up with those words to describe Andy.

In addition to the influence of TV shows and movies, this desire to “disarm” others was definitely part of why Andy majored in criminal justice and why he was interested in law enforcement, which eventually led him to join the Coast Guard. 


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 me at online@taps.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

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. 


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.