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.

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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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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.