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


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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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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!


The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Team TAPS 

For 20 years, Team TAPS has honored our heroes and raised awareness and funds to support the TAPS mission. This year, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are coming together to create a virtual movement. We will walk, run, bike, swim, and row - find ways to move in honor of our loved ones. We will gain strength, go the distance, and encourage each other. Join us for this adventure

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

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We're all in this together

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? 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. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted you by taking our survey.


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, 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

Those who take either survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback.

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The TAPS Daily: Did you know, that during these challenging times, TAPS is publishing a daily round-up of news stories, resources and thought pieces from across the military, veteran and TAPS community?

Read the latest edition.


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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.