Saturday Morning Message: Angelversary Ideas

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This week, there were so many responses that I made a decision to include some of the longer pieces in the March Writers’ Circle Newsletter, which will go out early next week. If this sounds like something you would like to receive, contact me at and I will include you on the mailing list. Please enjoy all the different replies that came this week.

Hands holding a candle

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed, you can email me at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Janae, mother of Brandonsent the question for the week. Janae wrote, “It will be eight years this July, and it still feels like yesterday. I know time kind of stands still for us, and we all grieve differently. It changes us all, not bad or good, we are just different.” She would like to know how it’s changed others, so the question is: How has the loss of your loved one changed you? We look forward to your response.

Song for the Week

Janae also sent the song for this week, which is “Gone Away” sung by Five Finger Death Punch. Janae writes, “Five Finger Death Punch was one of Brandon’s favorite bands so we shared that, and I go to their concerts when I can and also take something of Brandon’s with me. The song mentions a lot of things we all probably do like ‘leaving flowers on your grave to show I still care’ and heaven is so far away.” 

Answers from Survivors

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: The first year you are told is the worst. You get through all the first events and holidays without your most precious loved one. You miss them so much and fight that hole in your heart. Might I suggest you make a new memory on that anniversary? You might want to ask friends and relatives to send you a note or postcard telling you something about your loved one, which you will save in a new box. Concentrate on the time you had and not the death. I wish you an easy day.

From Anne, mother of Michael: On my son Michael's anniversary, I reflect on him as the man that he was and celebrate his life. It is not always easy to do, but I keep on trying. I also find that if I can do something to help others it also helps me with my loss.

From Thais, mother of Dwayne: Dwayne died May 7, a few days before Mother's Day. I take the day off from work. I spend that day as my Mother's Day with him in my thoughts.

From Joanne, mother of William: On my son’s first angelversary, we had a party in his honor. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and asked everyone to bring a side and drinks. We told them that they could bring balloons. I went and got 24 balloons. We passed around a Sharpie so that anyone who wanted could write a message to him (of course I got a special one for me). At the same time of day that we were notified, we released the balloons. We sat around our little fire pit before and after we let the balloons go and told stories about him. Yes, we all laughed and cried, but it felt good to share memories of him.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: What do I do on my loved one's angelversary? That's quite easy — I attend the TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar because it falls on Wes' death date. What better place to be than with TAPS friends/family! I can't stress enough how much it helps to be with people who understand.

From Michele, mother of Stephen: The first year of our son’s anniversary, we had a Mass intention said for him, went out to the cemetery to put flowers on his grave and went out to dinner to celebrate his life. As the years have passed, we still do a Mass intention, put flowers on his grave, and yep, we still go to dinner to celebrate his life. On his birthday, I make his special dinner and sing happy birthday to him with a cake and candle. It is always nice to celebrate his life that was once part of this family, as his spirit still lives on. We just do what is best for us to remember this day. It has to be what makes us feel good remembering our loved one on that day. I think our loved ones are just happy that they are never forgotten and continue to live in our hearts forever. 


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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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Women's Empowerment Programming

If you’re looking to connect with other surviving women, you may just find your sisterhood during our fall weekly Women’s Empowerment sessions! These sessions are open to all TAPS women wrestling with questions of identity and purpose after loss. You can join this safe, supportive online environment via webcam. Our weekly schedule offers sessions on Tuesday through Friday each week.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Creating New Holiday Traditions - Webinar

Accessing a spirit of holiday cheer in the midst of grief can be challenging and many may feel compelled to skip the holidays altogether. Especially this year, when so many gatherings and travel may be limited, cultivating holiday traditions that honor your grief and promote connection with others can be very healing. Join the TAPS Institute to discuss creative ways to engage in the holidays in ways that meet you where you are in your grief journey. This Creating New Holiday Traditions webinar is free and will be held Thursday, November 19 from 12:00 to- 1:00 p.m. Eastern. 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

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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.