Saturday Morning Message: Fall Plans

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Last week we shared  the article “Making Summer Memories” by surviving spouse Elizabeth Culp. In the article, she wrote, “Planning provides something positive to focus thoughts and energy on.” I’m sharing here a photo of a hydrangea bush, my favorite. One of the reasons I like it is that it provides a focus in my yard and it will keep its flowers into the winter. Then in the spring, I must remove the flowers or it will not bloom the next year. It truly demands my energy for the whole year, but it is most spectacular in the fall.

Carols Garden

Now we are changing seasons once again as summer turns to fall. This will bring emotions that will vary from person to person. Sometimes being with other TAPS families can bring a welcome change. If you would like to plan a trip this fall to be with others who understand, visit Survivor Programs on the TAPS website to get  an idea about what is offered. Sometimes that is all that is needed to lift our spirits and give us a plan for the future.

In the Northeast, the leaves on the trees will soon begin to turn brilliant colors, so I plan to take a short trip to Maine in the middle of September. We used to go there earlier in the summer as a family, but the change is that we go to a different area and visit local spots as well as visit friends instead of going to amusement parks like we did when the kids were little. It is still warm enough there to walk the beach and enjoy the beauty as we travel the back roads to look at the foliage.

This week others shared their plans for a fall change in their lives. I know you will enjoy their responses.

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 

A God wink at TAPS is a moment when you feel your loved one close to you. It can be just a moment or something can happen like hearing a song on the radio that was your loved one’s favorite. It could also be something out of the ordinary like a butterfly landing on you. So this week’s question is: Have you had a God wink that you would like to share with our group? We look forward to your answers. 

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. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.


♫ Song for the Week

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: My son loved Japan and Japanese culture. He spoke some Japanese and listened to Japanese music. At his memorial service we played Sakura Rain. Sometimes I cry when I hear the song; other times I remember him fondly. 

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 are your plans for fall activities that will provide you the most comfort?

From Wendy, wife of David: This is only our second fall. We are just over 18 months out from losing David. Last fall and holiday season was a nightmare for my boys and me. This season I am going to try to do a few different things. We are going to go a few hours north and pick apples during apple season. We picked fruit throughout the summer and we are going to attempt to can jam for Christmas gifts—could be a disaster—who knows. But we are going to try something different. We don't live near any family so David's absence is pretty palpable. We are going to try to do things with and for others and try to connect with the community we have in our lives.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Wes really enjoyed and excelled at reading. I may just do something a little more public around that to honor and remember him. That would be something new. I really love the change of Aspen leaves here in Colorado and seeing snow on the mountain peaks for the first time as fall approaches. My new plans to do something different and enjoyable this year are to travel to the Crested Butte area to get away for a weekend at the end of September. Hopefully, the leaves will still be showing their color that late in the month. Getting into nature and getting away from a bigger city is extremely helpful to reset my outlook.

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.


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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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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.

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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.

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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.  

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.