Saturday Morning Message: Sharing Mementos

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

I am always pleasantly surprised when I read the responses to the weekly question and this week was no exception. The response sent by Betty, mother of Michael, included a picture of an item given to her at her son’s funeral. Betty wrote, “At Michael’s service at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, one of the Marines from Michael’s unit presented me with an item. Much was a fog that day (and for a period after that), but I remembered he told me what it was as he placed in my hand and gave me a hug. I got the impression that it was something he was not supposed to give me, but felt I needed to have. I’ve attached a photo of it with this email. It is shiny, with the USMC logo etched in, but had scratches on the back when I received it. I carry it in a small bag, in my purse, always. Even though I do not know what it is, it represents the love Michael’s unit had toward him—and that is sufficient for me. Do you have any idea what it is?” We hope someone will solve this puzzle for her and enjoy the rest of the message.

Marine Corps Coin

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 

There were so many responses to this week’s question that it will be extended a week and more people can share important items, so the question will be the same as last week: Have you saved certain things that belonged to your loved one that have become priceless to you? Tell us about them and send a picture if you like. We look forward to your responses. 

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. 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 morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

Leslie, mother of Eugene, sent two songs this week. One is Morning Prayer sung by Jason Gould and the other is My Immortal sung by Evanescence. Leslie wrote, “My Immortal is about a spirit that stays with you to the point of wishing they might leave. First, I like the sound from the group and that it’s a ballad that gets what it’s like to want a spirit staying with you forever. I also believe the lyricist understood that time doesn’t heal...You adjust. As I listened I thought of my son who I miss dearly.” 

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: Have you saved certain things that belonged to your loved one that have become priceless to you?


From Michele, mother of Stephen: You know mothers save everything that our children make, because they made them. Gosh, even though they meant something then, they mean that much more now that my son, Stephen, is gone. My husband had an excavating business. Stephen was so intrigued with the excavators and loved to draw. So, he decided to make a couple of pictures for his dad. He was our Picasso. Of course, my husband was so proud of him that he framed them. We just cherish those mementos! This is one of the pictures. 

Art by Stephen


From Tabitha, wife of Michael: When my husband passed, he left behind my two step sons. Since I was their step mom, they moved in with their mother. I wanted to make sure they had something to remember him by once they moved. I found an old picture of my husband and the kids. It was one of my husband's favorite pictures. In it, he is wearing a striped blue shirt. I made a copy of the photo and framed it with the shirt. The kids loved it and I know they have a piece of their dad whenever they need it. 


From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I saved a few things from my son. Actually, I saved a trunk full of things that he put in the trunk. But I saved one in particular that I will tell you about. When Gene was in fourth grade, New York City Arts sent a team to his elementary school to do art lessons for several weeks. He loved it because it was different and he had no boundaries. He created a batik drawing of a dragonfly. The visiting team liked it enough to frame it and show it and others from various schools at the New York City Children’s Art Museum where it hung for a school year.

He got it back and gave it to me. I hung it up. Years passed and I decided to reframe it. The place did a great job. Gene was now on leave and came home to see his childhood work in this new frame and questioned my sanity. He wanted to know why I would spend money on his art....but I could see how overjoyed he was. It was hanging over his flag box until we decided to sell our apartment.

Art by Eugene


From Samira, mother of Andres: From my son, Andres, I have all his belongings. What I got from Japan and all he had at home, but I have one of his pillows and a T-shirt  that I sleep with or hold when I want to feel him. Andres’ belongings are my connection with him, and I am not planning to give them away.


From Sheryl, mother of Adam: I moved out of state less than a year after Adam died and had to really prioritize what I kept. It was very tough and I shed a lot of tears.

Pictured are the items that I moved. Adam made the gargoyle in middle school. It reminds me of his creativity and love for fantasy. The Canadian flag is from a family trip to Winnipeg when Adam was about 4 years old. We had other trips to Canada, too, that provide many happy memories. That flag reminds me of his sense of humor. As a joke, Adam liked to try to convince people, even those who knew him since kindergarten, that he was born in Canada. For a year or so he would end sentences with a Canadian, “eh.” When on stage, he often used a Canadian accent. These little things bring tears and smiles.

Art by Adam


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.


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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

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, 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.  

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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.