Saturday Morning Message: Lifting Our Spirits

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This week, in addition to the responses to the question about lifting spirits, there were a variety of pictures included. The lead picture comes from Kelsey, mother of Michael. You will read her explanation later in the message. We all have such unique ways of creating a way to lift our spirits when we are down. I know you will find those who wrote this week to have imaginative ideas.

Saturday Morning Message

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.

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.

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. 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 afternoon of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature.

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

We haven’t had a question about memories for a long time, so this week’s question comes from Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew. She wrote, “Do you focus on just the good memories of your loved one or also visit, remember and even laugh at the other times? For example, here is one: My son loved taking long showers and singing Pavarotti or rap songs all during his grooming time. Finally, I had to say: 'Hey, Andy, enough is enough!'" What is a memory of your loved one you would like to share for all to enjoy?

Song for the Week

From Julia, mother of Tyler: The song we played at our boy’s funeral was “Heaven Needed a Hero” by Jo Dee Messina. It’s a perfect tribute for a soldier. It has given us comfort for many months since then.

Answers from Survivors

Last 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.

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Kelsey, mother of Michael: My go-to is two-fold. I write copious random lists and then throw them out later. It helps me focus my mind on the task, not the overwhelming grief. If I require physical activities then I go to my woodshop and build something. My grandson, my son's nephew and I poured ourselves into a Christmas yard display last year, and I built this entertainment center.

From Joanne, mother of William: When I am down, I go to my memories of William as a child and the man he had become. He loved helping and guiding the new guys that came into Fort Hood. He had a smile that would light up a room. What helps me the most are the stories his battle buddies have told me and their friendship.  

I really don’t have that place to go to because he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. I do believe that is what has taken me so long to heal. I finally reached out to TAPS about two years ago. I was contacted by a sweet and wonderful woman who just took the time to listen to me. I was able to attend the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar last year and the difference that made in my life was my turning point. I went there with one foot in the grave and walked out with two feet on the ground. The past ten months have made a great difference in my life.

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Michele, mother of Stephen: When I am in my sad place, I often look at this picture, which puts a smile on my face. He was an old soul, but a happy man with such good qualities. Looking at his smile I see other things in my head like Stephen coming up the driveway on a sunny afternoon, windows down in the Explorer and him singing, "Ain't That a Kick in the Head " by Dean Martin with such a big grin on his face, or when he and I were out one time for my birthday (of course, with a few drinks under our belts), and on the way home, he put a Polish CD on, turned up the volume, then began singing a Polish folk song, with that same grin. His smile will always warm my heart and make me feel he is always with me.

From Samira, mother of Andres: When I feel down, I pray and hug my son, Andres’ pillow. Also, I live in Florida, so I escape to the Disney theme parks and go shopping.

Saturday Morning MessageFrom Alida, mother of Nathan: I grew up near a beach and it was, for me, a place of contemplation — a place where I could talk to God, clear my head, and sort things out. The beach at Oceanside Pier had become the same type of place for Nathan. My favorite place is the beach. I no longer live near the coast. I have to go there in my mind. When I am in southern California, I always visit Oceanside Pier.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: There are two places I can sit and reflect. There are times when I feel I need to talk with Wes to ask him if he can see me, please help me in my situation.  I visit his grave and then I can go visit his tree in the park where he used to meet with friends. And, of course, there is that special place about an hour into the mountains that I can hike. Nature is so healing. I can always call on my heavenly father wherever I am.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS
 

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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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Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Set Sail with Your TAPS Family! 

This summer, sail with your TAPS Family on the TAPS Alaska Cruise from July 30 to August 10, 2021, through the inside passage to Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas! While onboard, TAPS will have a variety of programs and activities available for you and we will gather each evening for a TAPS Family dinner. And to give you peace of mind, Royal Caribbean has extended their “Cruise with Confidence” program through the end of November. Anyone who books a cabin under that program will be able to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing (for any reason) and receive 100% future credit.

A Breath of Fresh Air

We want to help you reconnect with nature in simple, yet meaningful ways with monthly themes and weekly activities you can do anywhere. Join us as we navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief. You will have access to downloadable content, videos, and articles each week and a family campfire at the end of each month! Find nature where you live, whether it be in your community or your own backyard. Join in our activities and snap a photo to share with us. Let's join together for a Breath of Fresh Air!

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


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Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit smile.amazon.com, 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 online@taps.org.

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.