Saturday Morning Message: Dealing With Multiple Deaths
Author: Carol Lane
Dealing with one death can be very difficult, but when you are faced with the loss of more than one family member or friend, you can find yourself in greater difficulty. For me, taking the time to reach out for support is the best thing I can do for myself. Participating in one of the various online chats that TAPS has is one way to find support. There is always the TAPS Helpline at 800-959-8277. Here a real person will answer your call 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. Sometimes just chatting with someone about how you are feeling may be just what you need. Some survivors who have experienced this, share with us this week how that’s helped.
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. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who wrote this week, send it to me and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
In addition to the ideas shared below, we can also honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. In order to have your reply included in the week’s Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
One suggestion a survivor had was to include a song of the week, which is now a weekly section. If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it along with a sentence or two about what makes this song distinctive. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. You can sign up for Spotify for free to listen to the playlist. The playlist is called “Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance.” I often listen to it and think of our TAPS family while I am on the computer.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
Since the registration for the24th Annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp opened this week, I thought it might be a good idea to incorporate it into the question of the week, so I am going to ask those who have been to one of these seminars to reply to this question: What did you find supportive and helpful at the TAPS National Survivor Seminar you attended? This way those who are contemplating going will have an idea of what to expect. We look forward to your answers.
You can register for the seminar on our National Military Survivor Seminar event page.
Song for the Week
From Anne, mother of Michael and wife of John (Buddy): Music has always been a big part of my life ever since I was a young girl! My dad was in a choir and my mom was in parish shows. Since I have lost not only my son in the military, I am also grieving the loss of my husband, a Korean War Purple Heart recipient, I am so blessed to have beautiful music in my home every day. It brings me comfort and at times I feel that my son, Michael, and my husband, John (Buddy), are at my side watching over me with a beautiful smile on their faces! The songs are Frank Sinatra singing "My Way" and "With You I'm Born Again" sung by Billy Preston and Syreeta.
Answers from Survivors
From Elsie, mother of Daniel: My nephew, my sister’s oldest son, was killed on his motorcycle by a drunk driver six weeks after my only son was killed on his motorcycle, by a distracted driver. When her son, Greg, was killed, I was still numb from the loss of my son. I believe I went through the steps, but my heart was protected. I have attended funerals of family and friends since my son was killed. I think we receive a hedge of protection to help us get through those times. You just do what you can do. Don't expect too much out of yourself, because it may not be there to give....and that’s all right.
From Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew: I have lost more than nine immediate family members in the past eight years, not to mention a few additional friends. I have always hated funerals but found myself at way too many.
What I do now is two-fold. I recognize each one on the day and honor them with, yes, food! I know what my mother, my father, my son, my husband, two brothers, favorite cousin, uncle, and just two weeks ago, my only brother-in-law, liked to eat. Cooking up a delight for them is satisfying for me and I share it with others as much as possible. Why not feed the crowds?
It may sound silly, but the actual work involved is worth the effort. Some of my loved ones liked simple things and some, like my father, liked ALL Ukrainian food which I am not the best at, but I did make some for him before he died and he loved it! Saying a prayer before serving up these delights is a part of it and a big thanks for my ability to do this and share it.
For some of us, the times and seasons of the year are so hard to deal with. My son and husband had deaths and birthdays in the fall, usually my favorite time of year. Now it is so hard when fall appears. I could get depressed, but I choose to allow it to become an honoring for them as well as a welcoming meal. You are still here and so, live it out fully in whatever way works for you.