Saturday Morning Message: Books Help Our Grief Journey

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Reading can be very beneficial for those who are grieving. In today’s response section, readers shared their thoughts about how books have been helpful on their grief journey.

Healing Your Grieving Heart book coverThe lead picture is from the book titled Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death by Bonnie Carroll and Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Clicking on the title will take you to the TAPS webpage where you can read the summary and buy it if you like. The rest of the book titles below will link to While on the Amazon website, you might look into AmazonSmile, a program where Amazon donates a portion of sales to a selected charity. We encourage you to select TAPS as a beneficiary. I hope you will find these publications useful.

Remember, you can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you. My email address is

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Questions come from different sources. The question this week came from a TAPS Care Group. Those of us who have lost a loved one in service to our country receive personal items of our loved one which we keep. This week’s question is: Have you saved certain things that belonged to your loved one which have become priceless? Tell us about them and send a picture if you like. We look forward to your responses. 

Questions are the  backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. I am running low on questions. Think about topics that are on your mind. I am sure others have similar questions. You can email your ideas to me at Replies to this week’s question are best sent to me by the following Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have to make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful.


♫ Song for the Week

Teresa, mother of Donald, sent the song for this week which is Always, written by Irving Berlin and sung in this version by Willie Nelson. Teresa wrote this message to us explaining the meaning of this song to her: "Ever since Donald was born, I sang this song to him. I meant these words then and I mean them now. Donald, no matter what I have to do, whether it's going to trials, writing a book to honor you, or just pushing forward, I'll be loving you always, even if you are in Heaven.” 

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address.


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: Has there been a book, or a line in a book, that has helped you on your grief journey?

From Caryn, mother of Nathan: There hasn't been any one book that has helped, but it's reading itself! Reading takes me out of the moment and allows me to disappear into any world I choose. It's always been that way for me and now I've needed that more than ever! I find fantasy takes me to magical places, mysteries make me think outside the box, and reading itself keeps me from wallowing in pity. It gives the right to enjoy something outside myself without anyone's judgements. Just for a few hours it feels OK to feel whatever I'm experiencing.

From Sheryl, mother of Adam: A couple of months after Adam's death, my book club read Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. It is about the loss of a child and how it changed the family and others close to them. There was a chapter about the Easter sermon a few weeks after the death. It spoke to me so much that I copied the pages so I could reread it after I returned the book. I recommend this novel.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Wes was a voracious reader from a very early age and I've kept many of his books, intending to read them. In the box of items collected from the house he was renting, were books I had given him that he kept for years. I was so pleased to see them and probably won't ever give them away.

I love books. I  wish there was more time to read. I'm trying to finish West Like Lightning. It's about the short-lived Pony Express era.  

From Michele, mother of Stephen: It was so hard for me to understand my son's death and to find a way to cope with all of it. I was given a book when I went to Texas for his memorial from a mother who lost her son so tragically. It was called, The Empty Chair, Handling Grief on Holidays and other Special Occasions. Out of the book what really stuck in my head, is "God doesn't cause death, He allows it because of human brokenness." So I see my son as being very broken. God called him back home to be in peace again. As hard as it is, I remember to find peace with all of it. Also, I read a magazine article from TAPS, titled Is Suicide a Choice? It helped me to understand much more, helping me to understand the pain my son was in.The one thing I remember is, they don't think about us in the moment, just the pain they are in and the need to get rid of it. So it has helped ease the pain.

From Joy, mother of Stephen: Thanks for the opportunity to share books that have helped.  The only peace I find in my life now that I have lost my only son, Stephen, is in the promise that through faith I will see him again. I have struggled mightily to hold on to that faith. A couple books that helped me in the early days of grief were Heaven by Randy Alcorn and If God is Good also by Randy Alcorn. These books ministered to my soul in a way that nothing else has been able to do. More recently I read When God Doesn't Fix It by Laura Story.  It is so encouraging to read real life (not candy coated) stories of people who are wounded, but have become better people, not bitter people, through it. I look forward to seeing what books others have found helpful! 

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 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).