Saturday Morning Message: Sharing Fond Memories

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This week I was thrilled to receive so many wonderful articles from survivors sharing a variety of scents, songs, sights or food that remind them of their loved ones. I will keep my comments short, so you can get right to reading all the selections and get to know more about these special people who served their country. Thank you to all who reply or read the Message to make it what it is.

Survivors at Arlington

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 can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you.

If you would like to send a message to 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.

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. 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 it to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature.

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Michael, brother and Courtney, sister-in-law to Chadsent in this question, “My husband and I would like to honor his brother (our brother) in some way...make a tradition, event, or something. Does anyone have a suggestion or something they've done to honor their loved one? It doesn't need to be costly or grand, just something special for the two of us to do when we need to connect with Chad. Many thanks in advance.”

Song for the Week

From Cheryl, mother of Jack: Something around me that reminds me of Jack is when he was small he liked to read the microwave 1-2-3-4, almost like a cheer. So at times, one of my daughters or I will screenshot it and send a heart to each other. It is a nice memory. Also, I think of a few songs, I may be at a store and hear a song that was played at his wedding and it makes me happy at times or at another time I may shed a tear. We put a flag in our front yard when he left for Iraq. Sometimes when it is waving I feel he is waving at me. I treasure all the memories that come to me, the ones that make smile, laugh or even cry. One song that was sung at his wedding is one that just reminds me of a very happy occasion that we had to share. It is titled- “The Broken Road,” sung by Rascal Flatts.

Answers from Survivors

Merry, mother of Wesley: The last time both Wes and Eric were home for Christmas at the same time - 2004 I think - they gave me an Estee Lauder package of makeup and perfume. I looked at that bottle after Wes' funeral and was amazed that it is called "Beyond Paradise."  That's where he lives now so every time I use it (only special occasions), I think of him and where he is now. When the perfume is gone, I will keep the bottle forever. His favorite meal was a meatloaf roll filled with mashed potatoes and spinach. I make it occasionally and enjoy the memories of him.

From Winona, wife of Clifford: I read with interest Saturday Morning Message. I understand how certain scents can bring back strong memories of our loved ones. When I'm out in public and I smell Old Spice, I think of Cliff. Also the smell of leather and the sweat of horses make me feel like he is there by my side! Cliff was also a professional farrier. Often times he would come home smelling like the horses he had shod that day.

From Essie, mother of Tysheena: Good afternoon my TAPS family. The question posed on today's blog is something I always think of and do. My daughter used to love coming into my room and spraying my perfumes on herself. She was a jokester and loved to eat. Her favorite meal was always steak, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Whenever I made it she would do what we call the food dance..lol. Her scent as I said would be my perfume, so whenever I wear it, I think of her, plus she had a natural scent of her own, so I have her clothing from Fort Hood, an Army jacket and hat she wore. I have it along with all of her other belongings.

From Cassie, wife of Zacharias: I loved this week’s question - not because I have a song, smell, or thing that reminds me of Zach, but because I picked up a habit of his. I hear a phrase, one that reminds me of a song and then I start singing the next line. Zach was so good about making up the next line to fit the circumstances and it would make us all laugh. I can't even remember why "I'm smelling toes" was said, but it is just a running joke in our family now.  You have to sing it - "I'm smelling toes, I want the world to know, got to let it show".  It was probably in reference to something our foster daughter was doing at the time and had us all in stitches whenever we'd say it after that. I also love this week’s question, because I have been given a strength by Zach, a strength to be alone; but not lonely. Something he did on purpose, so that I would not be lonely when he was on detachments. He encouraged me to do things with my friends, to not always do things with just him, even when he was home. We spent a large part of our relationship apart, but he would always think of me and I would always think of him when he was away.

From Tina, mother of Jonathan: He would spray the scent of ocean from Bath & Body Works, a whole bottle on I believe to make sure he smelled nice. The night after he was killed, I could have sworn I smelled him by my bed.

From Belinda, mother of Benjamin: Benjamin loved candles and he had a cologne with a distinctive scent. I needed to feel close to him and wanted to have something that would remind me of his smell. I prayed about it and praise God found the scent at Cracker Barrel of all places. I bought the incense bottle and put it in the room I’ve called Benjamin’s room where I have his certificates, clothes, etc. I keep the door closed so when I do go in there the scent is strong and just reminds me of him. I never imagined the last two years could be as hard as they’ve been, but I’m thankful to have this scent. It in some small way helps.

From Donna, mother of Eric: Every Friday night I took Eric skating when he was younger. I took my school papers and sat there and graded all evening. It was in the 90s so they played all the current music of the day. All 90s music reminds me of Eric. Any Sugar Ray, Spice Girls or Hanson song will always remind me of him.

I took Eric's clothes out of his car where they had sat for months unwashed and piled in the trunk. I sealed these in Ziplocks. About once a year, I open it slightly and smell them.They still smell exactly like him. I hope that smell will never dissipate. It's the best smell in the world to me. I hope everyone had the opportunity to place their loved one's clothes in a Ziplock!

From Dawn, mother of Jeremiah: Jeremiah was a mechanic, always involved in an engine repair, improvement, or modification. I used to get so annoyed by the greasy fingerprints on the back door....Why, oh why, couldn't he just use the door knob? So three years ago when I painted the back hallway, I struggled with painting the door to match. I knew it needed the paint, but I couldn't bear not to see those greasy finger/hand prints. I finally reconciled that I was sealing them on that door forever with a coat of paint. The prints are sealed on the door as they are on my heart forevermore!  And every once in awhile, I catch a whiff of the smell of grease and oil...amazing how comforting it is now.

UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS

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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.  

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.