Saturday Morning Message: Living A Life With Honor
Author: Carol Lane
In the latest issue of TAPS Magazine, author Alan Wolfelt shares his thoughts about using the word reconciliation instead of closure when talking about our feelings around the death of a loved one. He wrote, “Reconciling our grief means integrating our new reality of a life without the physical presence of the person who died. Not just surviving, but really living, even thriving.” This seemed to fit with this week’s topic about living our lives while honoring our loved ones.
The picture this morning comes from Sheryl, mother of Adam. Sheryl wrote, “I sponsored mileage markers in Adam's name on a hiking/biking trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Less than a year before his death, he hiked the entire 108 miles of the trail. In September, family members and I will make a pilgrimage to visit the markers. It will be Adam's son's first visit to the sites.” You will read more about what Sheryl does later in the message.
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 email@example.com.
Mother of Bryon
Answers from Survivors
Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What are you doing to honor your loved one's service while learning to live a life without his/her physical presence?
From Sheryl, mother of Adam: I try to honor Adam's service in a lot of little ways. This included helping to organize support for Run for the Fallen when it went through Iowa. I also participate in and support organizations financially with time and kind words. More personally, I speak Adam's name often. As much as we cry, plead, and beg — our loved ones will not return to us in this realm. The best we can do is honor them and live our lives well in their memories.
From Winona, spouse of Clifford: We will have a birthday celebration for Cliff the weekend of his birthday, Sept. 7. We buy birthday presents, little things he enjoyed. Then I donate them to the Salvation Army, his favorite charity to help others for Christmas. It's fun, it keeps his memory alive, provides comfort and healing and it helps others.
From Essie, mother of Tysheena: I have been doing this since Tysheena transitioned into paradise three years ago. Just recently one of my co-workers had a son graduate from high school and his dream is to serve our country in the Army. I am very close to this co-worker and we share everything about our kids since they are the same age and both graduated this year. When she told me his wishes, she looked at me and said, "Essie, I am scared." I told her, it’s natural because we are mommies, but if he's dedicated and really wants this, support him with everything you have. Just keep him lifted in prayer and support and encourage him. Needless to say, he has done extremely well on his ASVAB exam and passed his physical with high marks. He did his training in the exact same facility as Tysheena did in Brooklyn, New York. Though I very much miss my baby, I still encourage others to follow their dream of service to our country. Regardless of my experience dealing with the loss of my daughter, I continue to support and encourage our youth to serve and thrive in our armed forces. I am so proud of my co-worker’s son. He is so happy, focused and very serious about his service to his country. I gave her words of encouragement and she's a praying mother just like myself, so she is full of faith and hope for her son.
From Beth, ex-spouse of Thomas: I just celebrated the first year without Tom. I also found out that one of my former students who just graduated 8th grade in June died by suicide. Before he died, Tom wanted me to start going to church and get healthier by exercising and losing weight. I decided that in honor of Tom, I am going to not only achieve those two goals, but I also want to somehow give back to TAPS by becoming a Peer Mentor next year. I also am trying to compile a list of books for kids that deal with death and depression and learn how to teach grief yoga. Tom wanted me to move forward and honor him by helping others deal with depression.
From Samira, mother of Andres: I honor my son, Andres, by going to the cemetery with flowers. I help people in Venezuela by sending food, clothes and personal hygiene items. Venezuela is suffering from a lot of poverty and I feel better helping them. I do it in memory of my son, Andres. He loved to help.
My brother has a restaurant business in Venezuela, and on one visit with Andres, a child was selling pencils and pens. Andres asked me if could help and I said, “Yes, of course.” Andres told his uncle the child was hungry and to please give them free food. Andres was a kind person.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
Many of us enjoy traveling to favorite areas. Let’s share those meaningful places we enjoyed with our loved ones. The question this week: Is there a place you and your loved one went that is special just for the two of you? We look forward to reading your responses.
We can honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing email@example.com. 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
Cheryl, mother of Jack sent the song this week which is "Save a Place for Me" by Matthew West who dedicated it to his mother whom he admired. The lyrics seemed to fit perfectly with this week’s theme.
A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature. If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. along with a sentence or two about what makes this song meaningful to you. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist available to you on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.
You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at email@example.com.