Saturday Morning Message: Sharing Creative Ideas

Author: Carol Lane

Andi's crocheted poppies

Good morning,

Creativity helps with our healing and honors our loved ones. Survivors share the various ways they use their different talents. The photo today shows poppies that Andi, mother of Jacob, crocheted for a TAPS seminar. This week you will read more about her work and the other innovative ideas survivors shared in this week’s message.

I look forward to hearing from you for questions you would like to see in the Saturday Morning Message or any ideas on what might make it more helpful. My email address is

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What do you do to express yourself creatively?


Charlene's photo collage

From Charlene, mother of Devin: This gave me the perfect opportunity to share my experience from the Women’s Empowerment retreat last month in the Poconos. Creativity was a foreign language for me prior to that week. When I first got there I didn’t know what to do with all the tools to express creativity. Through all the workshops, connections and support, I found my talent, self reflection and self expression. I always knew Devin had a gift for being creative and expressive. I didn’t realize until the retreat that mine was buried so deep within me that I didn’t know it existed. I feel like I was reborn and the picture shown was created on the last workshop day. I highly recommend this experience to those who are ready to find themselves again after our loss.


From Perry, father of Christopher: One of the things I do is volunteer in the living history detachment for the National Museum of the Pacific War. I do this to honor my son, but also honor the memory of a fallen Marine. During our program, I give a presentation where I represent a Marine who served in WWII. Gunnery Sgt. Warren Goodwin enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1917 devoting his entire life to the service of the Corps and the United States. On February 25, 1945, he was killed on the island of Iwo Jima. He had no family to grieve for him. In telling his story, it is like telling the story of my son as well. When I am asked about this, I tell people about my son and TAPS. What drew me to Gunnery Sgt. Goodwin was when he was killed, he was the same age I was when I retired from the Marine Corps and even the same rank. We have a saying about our program that ties everything up so people can try to understand “We do what we do, because they did what they did.”


Hope's memorial garden

From Hope, spouse of Dennis: I was so devastated I could not find anything at first. I do have one passion that has kept me sane most of my life though. I love getting down and digging in the earth to grow things and it’s rewarding in so many ways. I didn’t think I would ever plant another garden. I didn’t see any point to it. I can grow almost anything. I grew plants, flowers and vegetables for Dennis, because he just loved that I could do it. He always said I have two green thumbs.

The idea of a memorial garden to Dennis set in and I have started one. I also managed to grow a few veggies this year. I am looking forward to fall when it becomes so much cooler and much more fun to garden here. This is the memorial garden I started for Dennis. It will evolve over time and I still plant a few other things. My heart isn’t really in it, but it helps.


From Kelsey, mother of Michael: My father and I are both wood workers and we build custom birdhouses. 


Kelsey's bird house



From Andi, mother of Jacob: I love to knit and crochet. I have found that making things for others always gives me comfort. Last November at the New Jersey Regional Seminar I met a lady who was crocheting red poppies to give away in remembrance for Veteran’s Day. She told me she had volunteered to make 1,000 poppies for the fall 2019 National Suicide Survivor Seminar. I was so impressed with her dedication, I offered to help her. So far I have made 480 crocheted red poppy lapel pins. I think she may have made even more! I am going to send in mine to add to hers. I hope they will give some comfort to others who will be remembering their special veterans this fall. Doing this creative project has brought me joy and I am grateful for the chance to be part of it.


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

Sleep is one of the areas many survivors find difficult after the loss of a loved one. Let us share some ideas about what has helped us when we find sleep difficult. This week’s question is: What helps you sleep when you find yourself restless at night? We look forward to your response. 

You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing 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 morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song, "What You Think of Me," is co-written and sung by Ryan Weaver. He wrote it in memory of his brother’s death in Iraq. He sang it at this year’s TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section 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).