Saturday Morning Message: Lifting Our Spirits
Author: Carol Lane
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.
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 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 it to me by Tuesday afternoon of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature.
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.
From 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.
From 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.
From 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.