Saturday Morning Message: Kindness for the Grieving

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The replies from survivors to this week’s question all centered around the people who reached out to them not only in the early days, but who continued on past the memorials. It was the same for me. I value those in my community who talk about their memories of Bryon and I try to let them know how much that means. This week’s lead picture shows a staff member and a survivor at a TAPS seminar talking. One of the things I like about going to a seminar is doing just that as we share memories of our loved ones. The question for the upcoming week will let us do just that. I look forward to the responses that will be published next week.


We can honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing 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 morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message. 

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew, sent this question: Why did your loved one join the military? I thought it would be a good question to introduce a part of our loved ones to each other. We look forward to your responses.


♫ Song for the Week

Leslie, mother of Eugene, sent this week’s song which is So Far Away sung by Carole King. Leslie wrote, “Just sitting here thinking of my son, Eugene, after one of his friends posted he just turned 40. The photo was of all Gene’s buddies from high school. And I thought of this song. Did I see a space in that photo or just wish he was standing there?”


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: What was or were the kindest things said or done for you that pierced your grief fog early in your loss?

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 and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

From Laura and Lyle, parents of Steven: As soon as we were notified by the Navy CACO that Steven was 'missing at sea' in the South China Sea and the search was underway, we planned a flight to Japan to be with our daughter-in-law and two toddler grandsons. The evening before we left, they called off the search and deemed Steven deceased. About a week after we arrived in Japan, members of our daughter-in-law’s family arrived as well. We were all tired, crowded, sad, stressed and feeling stuck together on the base as we awaited and somewhat dreaded the upcoming ship’s memorial service before all of us would return to the states. A chaplain and his wife took my husband and me for the day. They counseled us in the two-hour car ride to our destination with 'facts' to cling to and how to find hope in desperation and hope for us for the future, as Steven was our only child. They took us shopping, took us to eat, and on the two-hour car ride back, told us about how they would be our friends for life (and they are). They prayed with us, cried with us, and laughed with us. We felt renewed and looked forward to the memorial the ship would have to honor Steven.

We often grab our 'facts to cling to' for comfort and have found a new hope for the future through our daughter-in-law and toddler grandsons. The couple continues to call us and check on us often. We are blessed by them. It has been 10 months since Steven was missing at sea, we miss him terribly and we are very grateful for tangible words of wisdom given to us early in our loss.

From Essie, mother of Tysheena: My family and my childhood family rallied around me. Everyone assisted in any way they could without thought or question. My best friend came and cried with me for hours and my other best friend came and prayed with me. My in-laws drove from Maryland straight to me without thought. Mostly, my husband is the best — always by my side 10,000 percent.

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: After hearing that my oldest son Josh had passed away, my nephew Jacob was my "first responder." Jacob contacted me and came over. We were on our way to pick up some burgers at Whataburger when the two Casualty Assistance Officers knocked on my door. My youngest son answered the door. We already knew that Josh had died in the military hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. The CAOs stayed with me for hours, asking me how I was feeling, asking me about Josh and his girls, and making sure that I was all right. One CAO would be a constant in my life for the next few weeks. He checked on me every day, came over, and helped me fill out the tons of paperwork.

There was such an outpouring of love. Friends and family surrounded my husband and me at the wake, the funeral, and the luncheon. They were our support. There were so many beautiful things said to me about my son Joshua and it made me feel so proud, although I was so sad. So very sad. The grief was physically and mentally devastating. I could not have gotten through it without my family and friends.

From Kellye, wife of Thomas: The first words I heard from TAPS were, “Welcome to the TAPS family. You’re not alone. We’ve got you.” They then went on to explain that everyone at TAPS was a survivor and knew the horrific pain and sadness I was going through. I cannot even explain the sudden relief I felt. To know that I was safe.

Right after my husband died, I seriously didn’t know which way was up. I felt like I had gotten thrown under a massive waterfall and couldn’t come up for air. TAPS was my ‘air’ for my early days. They called several times a day, just to help me breathe. I cannot even say thank you for my Peer Mentor Sara’s and everyone else’s kindness. They were able to calm me down and shine a light onto my path. I seriously don’t have the words to express my thank you to TAPS. Thank you, Bonnie, for saving my life.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: From the moment I received the call no one ever wants, all I thought about was my loss. My son was gone and as far as I was concerned I was the only one in pain. I couldn’t look at the wall in my apartment, because all I saw was my son. I moved. Then someone told me to look around and think about who else was in pain, like my dad and my surviving son. It was hard to believe anyone else could hurt as much as I was hurting, but they were. I had to not only help them but acknowledge their pain and their right to be in pain. Then I didn't feel so alone.


chat icon

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

calendar icon

Join Us for the Next Virtual Seminar

Please join us for our September Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, September 18 and 19. This two-day event will begin on Friday evening with Sharing Groups and conclude with a session on meditative movement. Activities begin at 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and will be presented at no cost to you. Our sessions will be led by experts in the field of grief and loss, offering opportunities for you to gain tools and resources. 


The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Peer Mentor Training 

Looking for a chance to give back? You've been through the early days of grief and remember how connecting to TAPS was helpful to you. You remember when another reached out a hand to you to share the journey. Now you may be ready to help someone else. TAPS Peer Mentors are survivors who are 18 months beyond their loss and feel ready to be a companion to another. You may even find that opening your heart to another will offer you continued healing as well. Become a TAPS Peer Mentor.

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

plus icon

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, 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

Those who take the survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback. 

shopping cart icon

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.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

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.