Saturday Morning Message: Helpful Books on Grief

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This week survivors have sent titles of books that have helped them as they grieve. I thought I would start with an excerpt from the book Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death,” written by Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of TAPS and Alan Wolfelt, PhD.

"For many people, it is restorative and energizing to spend time outside."

You may find nature’s timeless beauty healing. The sound of a bird singing or the awesome presence of an old tree can help put things in perspective. Rediscover what it feels like to walk barefoot in the grass or the sand and breathe the fresh air. Mother Earth knows more about kicking back than all the stress management experts on the planet — and she charges far less.”

The book can be found online and in our TAPS Store.

Reading book

Karl Porfirio, father of Tre wrote a children’s book, My Daddy’s Heart is Purple.” The book contains information about the meaning of a father’s purple heart from a  grandparent to a grandchild. I thought it deserved to be highlighted since Karl Porfirio is a member of our TAPS family.

I hope you will enjoy all the book suggestions that came in this week.

Remember, you can write to me anytime — to contribute, subscribe 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


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to the question: Do you have a book you would like to share that has helped you in your grief?

From Laura, wife of Kyle: Heather Stang's “MIndfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind and Restore Your Spirit” really helped quiet my mind.

And for real life support and practical advice — this title is awful, but was so great for me who was alone— "My husband Died, Now What?" by Deborah L Morison. She is a grief coach and financial planner. When I asked people to help, they said, "Go to God,”, so the Bible is helpful.

From Perry, father of Christopher: “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, is a book about the brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma.

“The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom is a book that follows the life and death of a man and the impact others had on his life without knowing it. The last paragraph of the book touched my heart in the emotion it expressed.

“The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages” by Leo Buscaglia, who has written many other books that help heal the soul as well as the mind. Here is a quote from one of his other books: 

“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, who will need our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give.”

From Sheryl, mother of Adam: I read “Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger a few months after Adam's death. It isn't a book I would have chosen off the shelf, but a book club selection. It impacted me so deeply, that I copied a couple of pages that I reread. I plan to reread the entire thing this summer and would like to do another book club discussion on it. “Ordinary Grace” is a group of fictional stories of veterans' struggles with their experiences in WWII and the loss of a child. The theme is continued hope and resilience. 

From Larry, husband of Alice: A good book to read is “Living with Loss: One Day at a Time” by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz. I’ve found it very helpful. You can read it daily or sometimes read ahead. Either will get you thinking. It’s been a good book of knowledge.

From Cheryl, mother of Jack: I received the book,Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss, by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen. It was given to me by my Survivor Outreach Services dear friend who helped me so much. It has a story and in the back it has a lot of tips and a lot of resources. Since I received mine, I bought several and try to share them with people who lose someone. By far it was my favorite book.

From Lonnie, wife of Larry: Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Griefby Martha Whitmore Hickman. I have given this book to a few people after loss of a loved one. I read the passages when I feel the need.

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.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

The question this week comes from a staff member, Stephanie, who would like to write an article for the TAPS Magazine by interviewing some of those who respond to this week’s Saturday Morning Message question. Stephanie wrote, “Within TAPS, stories of thoughtful, meaningful, tender, rich rituals and memorials honoring the lives of our loved ones and their service to our country abound, but is it possible to experience ritual overload?” Sometimes you may have felt that you had to put your own grief aside to act a certain way at an event or had a disagreement with a family member. The question this week is: Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number or scope of rituals honoring your loved one? Have you ever wanted or actually declined a memorial invitation? We look forward to your answers. 

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep it fresh, I am always looking for more questions or topics. Please send your ideas to Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by the following Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song is sent by Perry, father of Christopher who wrote, “There is a song by Loreena McKennitt called "Dante's Prayer" that can be linked to how I felt about my son. When I first heard this song it made me think of Christopher in so many ways. When I hear it, Christopher comes to my mind and is never forgotten. The song captures the raw emotion of the loss I felt and the comfort of him always being with me.”

If you have a favorite song for this section, send it to me at

Other Items and Events of Interest

Arlington Cemetery family at headstone

Join us on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 to 30, for our 27th Annual National Military Survivor Seminar! We will be live streaming all of our general sessions with guest speakers.

Important Note: In-person registration is still open, but we are in a waitlist situation due to COVID occupancy restrictions in the State of Virginia. 

If you have any questions, email or call our Helpline at 202.588.TAPS (8277).

Learn More and Register


▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

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

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).