Saturday Morning Message: Changes in Our Lives
Author: Carol Lane
This week's question made me really stop and think. With the beginning of March, things in nature are changing here in Vermont. The sap is beginning to run, and those who make maple syrup are beginning to get ready. The sap is starting to go up into the trees to make the flowers so new trees will begin to replace the old. I think it is the same with my thoughts. My old way of just functioning around my family and friends group has enlarged to connect with others who have lost a loved one in the military, and I have made some really important friendships. One of the ways is through this message. Not only do I connect with others through email, but also it is exciting to meet many of you in person at the National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp held each May. Now I can also listen and understand grief better and know that we can support each other just by listening. I can’t fix it, but I can be there to listen and read.
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 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 of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature.
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.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
Lalaine, the managing editor of TAPS Magazine, sent the question for this week. She thought a good question would be, “If you received an American flag at the funeral, what did you do with it? Where do you keep it?” We are looking forward to your responses.
Song for the Week
Cassandra, wife of Jonathan, sent the songs this week. Cassandra wrote, “He made everything better. No matter our situation we both knew day or night all we were was a phone call away from each other. We always had each other’s back. Therefore Diamond Rio’s “One More Day” is my song. If I had one more day with him I’d make sure to never let him go. And to let him know how much I love him. Also Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” was the song he said he had dedicated to me. Although I could have a list that’s forever long, these two are the ones that make me stop and sit down for a minute no matter what I’m doing.”
Answers from Survivors
From Andy, father of Danny: The open-ended question from Brandon's mom resonated deeply with me. I had to let Carol know I'd found Janae's song choice and the question of the week to be perfect. You see, this is the week leading up to what will be the sixth anniversary of Danny's death. Yes, time stands still, yet moves, and we are changed. The music reminded me of how I'd been transformed. Five Finger Death Punch's music rocked what Danny felt. It was as if Danny had sent a sign!
Where before I thought I knew things, I now try to just pay attention to things all while knowing less and less. I've far fewer expectations of what's ahead, and I'm far less certain of what I know. And I'm OK with all that. I've reached a place where my trust in the process is complete. I see I'm part of a great human chain of being that is us all. I miss my son. I always will. So some things don't change at all even when everything changes.
From Elsie, mother of Daniel: I am trying to be a better listener. At Daniel’s services, a couple of his military buddies mentioned to me that when they spoke to Daniel, they felt like they always got his undivided attention. I remember when I spoke to Daniel he would always look me in the eye, and it seems like his thoughts didn’t wander. This just came naturally to him. I need to work on it.
From Michele, mother of Stephen: Janae, that is such a great question you sent in. For myself, in the last four years of losing my son, I have changed a lot, found more patience, don't worry so much about the small stuff anymore, and have found my heart wants to comfort anyone who is going through what we have — starting this new journey on finding a new normal. It has made me understand more about grieving. I feel comfortable telling someone that there is no time limit to grieve and that we all do it differently. I have always had a good heart towards people, but it has opened up that much more now. It has softened more and carries a lot of love that I want to give to others. It has helped understand others’ pain. I want to do anything I can with words, hugs, prayers, just a little something that can help others’ pain lessen. So now I have joined Soldiers Angels to give back to the soldiers who are overseas. It not only makes my heart feel good to do that but I feel I am making my son happy to give back what he once received when he was in Afghanistan.