Saturday Morning Message: Sharing Mementos Part 2

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

I thought I would share my memento picture. This is the heart locket I wear every day. Inside is a picture of my son at boot camp.

Carol's Lockett

 

I am making my comments short since we had responses to two different questions making this week’s message longer than usual. Last week Betty, mother of Michael sent a picture of what looked like a coin and asked if anyone knew what it might be. There was an outpouring of replies to her question. Today I share ideas about what the coin could mean as well as the answers to this week’s question about mementos. Thanks to all who wrote this week and also those who read the Saturday Morning Message.

Debra, wife of Thomas, Leslie, mother of Stephen, Ginny, wife of John, Laura, mother of Nathaniel, and Tina, mother of Jonathan suggested that the coin is a challenge or morale coin which traditionally is presented by a service member to another service member in recognition of a job well done or as a token of honor and remembrance.

USMA Coin

Karl, father of Tre believes it is his unit’s coin as well. Karl added these memories about his son, “When someone places it in your hand you are coined. When the military go out and about, sometimes they will slap down their coin on the table and the highest ranking one has to pay for their drinks. My son Tre coined President Bush when he visited Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I have the picture of him doing it and the look on the Secret Service faces wondering what he placed in the former President’s hand. He said Bush sort of chuckled (as you can't have a higher-ranking coin than commander in chief).  Also, when my son was in hospital, Joe Biden coined him. People still place their coin in my hand from time to time at certain events in his honor.” 

Dianne, wife of David wrote, “It could have been one that Michael carried. Depending on the location of the posts on the back of the emblem, those posts could have been something to be used as a pin, tie tack, or lapel pin. At any rate it is something treasured among the Marines and sailors, officers and enlisted alike.”

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 online@taps.org.

Hugs,
Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

I was reading the Online Community message board recently and a question posed by Melina, wife of Nicholas, sounded like a good one for this week. She asked, “What sort of things have others done in order to turn their grief into action?” Have you volunteered for something or helped out in your community? Let’s share some of the things we have done. We look forward to your relies. 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I am always looking for questions for future messages. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing online@taps.org. In order to have your reply included in the week’s Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning of the following week.

 

♫ Song for the Week

The song this week was sent by Jessie, father of Isaac. In addition to the song, he included more information about Isaac, so we could get to know him better. Jessie wrote, “My son was very gifted in football. As a running back, he broke city records. In boot camp, he was the only Marine to receive a promotion to lance corporal out of 350 recruits. I was very proud of him. When I went to the graduation, we met the commander of the Marines. I miss him dearly, because he was a very awesome kid. 

When my son was in boot camp in San Diego with the Marines, he heard Mighty to Save  on Sundays in church. They would sing it and he loved it.” 

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at online@taps.org.

 

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 Samira, mother of Andres: I love this question. My son, Andres, loved Lego. The last time he came home, on December 2014, he saw that his airplane, a C-130J, was in a Lego set at Legoland Park. I bought it and he built it. I miss those days. It is in the same place he placed it and will be there until I am gone. I have all his belongings since Andres was a child. All his belongings are priceless. I wish I could share ALL... Thanks again for this opportunity.

Legos by Andres

 

From Ginny, wife of John: My husband’s wedding ring is priceless to me. He was air crew in the Air Force and wasn’t allowed to wear jewelry for safety reasons. He fastened his ring on a 550 cord in his pocket and never left home without it. He often bragged that there wasn’t a mission where he didn’t have his ring, his wedding ring. I now keep it on a chain close to my heart. I can touch it and hold it when I’m anxious or need to feel a piece of my husband close to me.

Wedding Ring

 

From Wendy, wife of David: It's only been 18 months, so I have not gotten rid of much. Mainly clothes and things like that. That being said the thing that came to mind first when I read the weekly question were these little shoes he made. :)

Our first son, Theo, had the fattest little feet. He could not fit in baby shoes. He started walking at 13 months and wanted to go everywhere, but we could not find any shoes to fit his feet to wander around outside. My husband bought some leather and tools to make moccasins. He sewed the leather together and followed a pattern he got online. The biggest shock to us all was they FIT! Theodore wore those for about six months and then his feet began to get lean as he grew and he was able to fit into other shoes. I have those tucked away in the few baby items we kept from both our boys. I think about those shoes all the time. David loved our boys with all his heart.

Sometimes the only time he would smile is when he was watching or playing with our boys. Sometimes I wonder how it could be my boys are growing up without this man who loved them so deeply or how my husband could be missing all these moments of their lives. Eighteen months and he has missed so much already.

Leather Shoes

 

From Kathryn, fiance of Jason: August 29 will mark the three year anniversary of my fiance's death. Time has seemed to help some of the emotional pain, but I still get what I describe as the physical pain and symptoms whenever I think of Jason.

I, unfortunately, didn't keep a lot of his stuff since I hadn't been in the picture that long, I felt like family kind of took precedent. I donated most of all his clothes and shoes to a program that helps veterans down on their luck. I did keep his stinky baseball hat (which I keep by my bedside and bury my face into often) because I can still catch his scent in it, and I kept a couple of his sweatshirts which I wore almost every day during my pregnancy and after. I only stopped wearing them last winter because I wanted to save them for our daughter, Piper. I also have his dress blues and medical history and other paperwork for Piper to have and explore when she is old enough and ready. I kept his pillows, too, as weird as that sounds. Sleeping with them helped get me through the lonely nights of my pregnancy.

What I hold on to and cherish the most are the few pictures I have of us together and a couple voicemails I have archived. Hearing his voice is so bittersweet, I'm tearing up just thinking about it. It hurts hearing him, but hearing him say “I love you” is reassuring and gives me strength to keep on moving forward the best I can.

 

From James, father of Andrew: Andy usually made a fashion statement. He could make anything look good, and look good together – stripes and checks, purple and orange. He was known in his Karate classes for his Real Men Wear Pink T-shirts. It’s hard to go through and get rid of your loved one’s things. And what do you do with clothes, with many of his being oh-so-stylish. Our son and daughter-in-law snuck out some of Andy’s shirts and had a bear made out of them for us last Christmas—striped and solid purple; orange, black, and white checked. For us, they go together just fine. He’s quite stylish – with his bowtie, of course! And the bear’s smile – cute, but a little bit off – maybe kind of like a smirk and a grin combined. Really quite simple, but, of course, everyone notices him! Very much like Andy – and like him, priceless to us.

Bear made using Andrew's Shirt

 

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: I saved a stuffed alligator that belonged to my son, Michael, USMC. It has a double special meaning. My mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, made it for him when he was very young. I sleep with it every night, hugging it close to fall asleep.

Michael's stuffed alligator

 

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.


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To subscribe to the Saturday Morning Message email online@taps.orgThe Saturday Morning Message is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection, survivors helping survivors, for support and encouragement along the grief journey. 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 and grammatical corrections.  

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