Saturday Morning Message: Favorite Thanksgiving Food

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

This week survivors wrote about their loved one’s favorite foods at Thanksgiving. The opening picture came from Caryn, mother of Nathan,  who wrote, “Nathan and his favorite Thanksgiving meal was always one he prepared himself, beginning with this one when he was in middle school. The last Thanksgiving meal I had was the one he cooked with his Dad in 2010.” There are a large variety of foods that are presented. Enjoy this week’s message.

Nathan and his favorite Thanksgiving meal Photo courtesy of Caryn

Remember, you can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you. My email address is

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Since next week is a short week, there will be a shorter message for Saturday, November 24, so I thought this would be a good time to gather more questions. The questions I look for are applicable to all survivors. It may be something that has troubled you and you would like to hear how others cope or just something you think would make a good question. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. So, this week: Do you have a question you would like to see on the Saturday Morning Message? I look forward to hearing from you.


♫ Song for the Week

Leslie, mother of Eugene sent the song this week which is: “One More Day” sung by Diamond Rio. She added, “Don’t we all wish we had more time.” 

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address.


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: What was your loved one's favorite food for the Thanksgiving holiday? How was it prepared?

Jason Memorial benchPhoto courtesty of Cindy


From Cindy, mother of Jason: I'm answering this as I sit with my son in Old Town Clovis, California. His favorite food at Thanksgiving was pumpkin pie. I always use the recipe on the label of Libby's pumpkin filling and he loved it. His last Thanksgiving at home, after everyone was gone, he took the rest of the pie and ate it with a spoon right out of the pie tin, lol. I miss and love him so much.

From Belinda, mother of Benjamin: Benjamin loved to cook and was good at it. He always teased me about my mashed potatoes.... even if there were no lumps, he teased anyway. For years there is a simple broccoli casserole recipe I’ve used. Benjamin asked for the recipe. He and I had trouble with too much liquid in it when it came out of the oven. I made it last year and wanted so much to be able to tell him, “Son, mom has finally got it figured out.” One day we’ll talk about it.

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: My son and I ate tacos for Thanksgiving. We prepared them together. He cooked the meat, beans and rice while I cut up all the vegetables.

With our tacos in hand we then sat down and watched “Sasuke,” the Japanese athletic competition on TV that inspired American Ninja Warrior. We laughed as we cheered on our favorite competitors. It was our special day to celebrate in our own way. I miss him dearly and have not watched “Sasuke” since his death in 2016.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: The answer to this question may seem a bit unusual. To know my son, you would say this would be a typical answer, but to the normal person this is not. For Thanksgiving dinner my son most looked forward to the apple and the pecan pies. In fact, he would take a slice of each one before the meal even began. Once he had his dessert, he would then begin the meal. He loved the turkey and especially the stuffing and sweet potatoes, but he couldn’t wait to get back to the desert. He usually made the apple pie from his great grandmother’s recipe that was given and shown to me by his great grandmother years ago.  I had it written down in the tiny little notebook with all the recipes that my surviving son now has. It was the best apple pie ever. The pecan pie was my recipe and he loved that as well. If you knew my son very well you knew he nibbled at the desert before the meal began.

From Samira, mother of Andres: Because we did not have family or an invitation to go to celebrate Thanksgiving, we went to Epcot and ate there together. Each year we ate in a different country. This is the reason I love going to Epcot, because of our memories. Thanks for this opportunity to share.

From Essie, mother of Tysheena: This is a good question since Tysheena was a complete foodie. I can pick one thing, but there are many Thanksgiving dishes she loved. I believe though, my stuffed shells were her favorite. Not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but she enjoyed it and also helped prepare it with me. I use boxed large shells, sharp cheese, mild cheese and ricotta cheese, with eggs and parsley flakes for the stuffing. For the sauce, I use 2 to 3 jars of Prego or Ragu garden sauce and ground beef with Italian sausage. I bake it for 45 minutes and sprinkle shredded cheese on top and serve. Simple but delicious.

The difference is who makes it. I cook with love, so my seasoning and preparations are done with extreme love and the outcome is always perfect. I brag about my cooking, because I always get great compliments and my family is always happy.

If you would like to send a message thanking the participant in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


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

This Summer, Youth Programs is hosting TAPS Good Grief and Family Camp at Home through August 28. Each week, there are activities and challenges you can complete individually and as a family. Missed a week? No problem - all activities and challenges from previous weeks are available online. Join us for opportunities for you and the kids to connect to mentors and other families through Zoom sessions.

Make plans to join us for our next Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, August 21 and 22. We have new, dynamic sessions available throughout the weekend at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home. We'll also have Share Groups, our facilitated support groups, where you can meet other survivors with similar loss experience. We look forward to seeing you online soon!

Save the date! Please join us for the Military Survivor New to Grief Seminar, once per week from September 3 to 24. Together we will work toward two primary goals. First, we will grow deeper understandings as we deconstruct myths about grief, explore the cognitive and physical impacts of grief, and seek to establish a helpful language around our own experiences. Second, we will establish community among our peers so that we have others who have a strong desire to accompany us as we continue navigating the ups and downs of our loss and grief.

pencil 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 before August 18th, 2020, 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

Have you lost your job, or have reduced work hours? Or are otherwise affected by COVID-19? 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. Tell us more.

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.