Saturday Morning Message: Comforting Items

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

Some of the responses to the question about a comforting item included flag cases and who gave them to the family, so I thought it would be interesting to open this week’s message with the picture of the flag display sent by Winona, wife of Clifford, and the reply sent by Rebecca, mother of Nicholas, which is, “I keep my son's flag on a shelf that I had made for it. It has all my TAPS things on it, too. I have a Smurf collection on it as well. Since I am short, Nicholas always called me 'a Smurf.' The shelf is in my room.”

Display of Folded Flag

Thank you so much for all who contributed to this message and also those who read it.

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 in the Saturday Morning Message, 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 

I asked my friend Andy, father of Daniel, who facilitates a TAPS Care Group, to send me some questions that come up in his group. This is one of them and is this week’s question: When you are keenly feeling your loss, what is your "go to" thought to lift your spirits? You could also write about a place you go when you are feeling down. Feel free to send pictures. We look forward to your responses.

Song for the Week

Debra, wife of Thomas: We both were fans of Willie Nelson, and we had one of our best date nights when he took me as a surprise to see Willie playing a live concert. Tom, unfortunately, never lived to hear the song “True Lovesung by Willie Nelson, but to me it reminds me of Tom whenever I play it.”

Answers from Survivors

Question: What item have you received that you found useful or comforting following the death of your loved one?

From Travis, husband of Connie: The first isn't so much an item as it is an attitude that brought comfort. When I was doing the funeral planning with the funeral home, we were putting together the budget, and they asked about the reception. My church told me I could have the reception there and the funeral planner asked how much the charge was. I told her they weren't charging me. She asked me to double check, so I did. Our administrative pastor said, "This is our home, and you don't charge family rent to bring guests home."

The actual item that brought comfort was a display case for Connie's flag made in the wood hobby shop. Connie was at Fort Carson, and there were a few special forces troops there. Connie talked to them and fed them. There was one sergeant who was having a tough time. Connie and I both talked to him. He was returned to duty. About six months after Connie died he showed up at my door, apologized for not making it to the funeral because he was deployed when Connie died. Then he asked me if I had a display case for Connie's flag, which I hadn't gotten yet. When I said "no," he handed me one, and told me he had made it for her flag.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: What was very comforting was a DVD about my son from his toddler days until he passed. Believe it or not, the DVD was made by my ex’s adult kids. They put together photos and music. I still treasure it.

Was there anything else that would have helped? I would have liked Eugene’s friends to write stories about him. I would have liked lots of them and then I would have bound them into a book.

From Cheryl, mother of Jack: After Jack died, I was just plain numb, hardly anything anyone said or did soaked in. It was like I was in a bubble. I was given things and tucked them away. It was about two months after the funeral that I was so desolate and knew I needed to get help. I went digging for my TAPS brochure I had been given. I tell people over and over, I believe it was literally my lifeline. I am saying it again. The most important thing for me was being given information to reach TAPS.

From Samira, mother of Andres: For me, everything is useful and special. My son, Andres', pillow is my connection with him. I sleep with it.

From Essie, mother of Tysheena: I lost my daughter on June 2, 2016, in Fort Hood, Texas, on a training mission at a low-water crossing. Sheena meant the world to my husband and me. She is one of seven children that we share together in a blended family. I received, last year around September or early October, Tysheena's wallet that she had on her person when the accident happened. I was wondering if they had found it, and I was called one afternoon and was told there was another item for me to retrieve. When I saw  it of course I broke down. It contained her military permit for truck driving, her SS card, and her New Jersey driver's license, among other things that she kept in her wallet. It was comforting and also helpful just to continue the process of grieving my daughter. Nothing can bring her back but having the things that she had on her at the time of her untimely departure helps me a lot. I just wanted to share this bit of information with my extended family. Love you all.


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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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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. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Team TAPS 

For 20 years, Team TAPS has honored our heroes and raised awareness and funds to support the TAPS mission. This year, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are coming together to create a virtual movement. We will walk, run, bike, swim, and row - find ways to move in honor of our loved ones. We will gain strength, go the distance, and encourage each other. Join us for this adventure

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

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We're all in this together

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? 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. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted you by taking our survey.


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

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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.