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


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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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Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Set Sail with Your TAPS Family! 

This summer, sail with your TAPS Family on the TAPS Alaska Cruise from July 30 to August 10, 2021, through the inside passage to Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas! While onboard, TAPS will have a variety of programs and activities available for you and we will gather each evening for a TAPS Family dinner. And to give you peace of mind, Royal Caribbean has extended their “Cruise with Confidence” program through the end of November. Anyone who books a cabin under that program will be able to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing (for any reason) and receive 100% future credit.

A Breath of Fresh Air

We want to help you reconnect with nature in simple, yet meaningful ways with monthly themes and weekly activities you can do anywhere. Join us as we navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief. You will have access to downloadable content, videos, and articles each week and a family campfire at the end of each month! Find nature where you live, whether it be in your community or your own backyard. Join in our activities and snap a photo to share with us. Let's join together for a Breath of Fresh Air!

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

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Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

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.