Saturday Morning Message: Ornaments for our Loved Ones

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

Ornaments are special. Some of them are from places we have visited, come from special friends or family, or they can be just something we bought because it touched our hearts. TAPS has touched many hearts, so the opening picture is an ornament you can buy at the TAPS store.

This week survivors wrote about creating an ornament that introduces their loved ones to those who read this message. The responses came not only from those who wrote to my TAPS email, but also from the question of the week posted on the TAPS Facebook page where you can read many more. I know you will enjoy reading about the ornaments suggested by survivors.

TAPS Logo Tree Ornament

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 last week's question: If you were going to create an ornament showing something important about your loved one, what would it be?

Darrell's successful fishing trip

Rosemary, mother of Darrell, sent this picture with her comment, “I would use this photo. Fishing was Darrell's happy place.”

From Teresa, spouse of Justin: A Woody Woodpecker ornament. He had a tattoo on his leg of Woody. Also he had red hair and his nickname was Woody.

From Robin, spouse of Alex: If I were going to do an ornament in memory of Alex for the tree, it would have to be golf-related. He loved to play golf and was so competitive, especially when playing with his younger brother. In fact, at his memorial service, there were two people who spoke and one who couldn't attend, but sent something for the pastor to read. All of them brought up golf and how competitive Alex was. We golfed on a church league the first summer after we were married. I've kept his clubs as I might like to take it up again. I may dig in the case for a golf ball to hang on the tree.

From Anna, fiancé of Benjamin: An ornament with a photo of our family or an American flag ornament, because he was the most patriotic man I’ve ever known.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I think if there would be a creative ornament to reflect my son, there would be a glass, four-sided room with a desk on a blue floor, comfy red chair, three computers and a minimum of six computer screens. There would be a happy man at the desk coordinating it all.

From Betty, mother of John: Johnny loved eating tamales at Christmas time and he helped make them. 

From James, father of Andrew: Andy saw the details in most things, so it would need to be detailed. He made a fashion statement; not overbearing, but noticeable. A bright green Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wearing a “Real Turtles Wear Pink” t-shirt would remind us of this unique person who stood by his principles and supported those who needed it. Many, many monkeys – Andy had loads of them. Orange checks and purple stripes of course. One in a Karate GI uniform, one with a Coastie cap, and one with a pirate hat and eye patch. And it would be BIG – Andy always was a BIG presence, just by being himself.

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

This week’s question came from Lalaine, daughter of Francisco. Lalaine wrote, “In this age of digital messaging and social media posting, taking out pen and paper to write a letter or card to someone we're thinking of is becoming an uncommon practice. We always delight in receiving a handwritten note, but rarely take the time to write one ourselves. What words of comfort would you like to receive from someone who might not know what you need?” Write the words you’d like to hear. 

Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. 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 next week’s message, it is best to send your answers 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

Do you have a favorite song you’d like to share and tell us about? Maybe there’s a certain Christmas carol that brings a happy memory? A survivor once suggested we include a song in this newsletter, 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 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 and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.


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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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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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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.