Saturday Morning Message: Places That Touch Our Hearts

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

When contemplating going to a certain place after the loss of our loved ones, we put a great deal of thought into the decision. Although it is not possible to know what this young survivor in the photo is thinking, I thought it really fit today’s topic.

Teen Boy on boat looking out toward shore at National Seminar 2016

The varied answers this week show how survivors handle going to places that may make them feel uncomfortable. There were so many different thoughts on how to handle the situation that it helps to understand that although we may react differently, we are on the same grief journey. I hope you will connect with one or more of the responders. 

Remember, you can write to me anytime just to communicate 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


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

The responses that came in this week will be shared in this week’s and next week’s Saturday Morning Messages. This may also create time for others to respond to this question: Are there places you used to go to that you now avoid after the death of your loved one? 

In addition to the Saturday Morning Message, which was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond, you might be interested in the monthly publication of the TAPS Writer’s Circle. This is a place where survivors can share essays, poems, pictures and even songs they have created. The topics are selected by the survivors. You can participate or just enjoy reading the contributions. If you are interested and would like to sign up to become part of the mailing list for the Writer’s Circle, just contact me at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s songs are from Liz, wife of Wayne, who wrote: "I used to listen to "I Will Not Say Goodbye" by Danny Gokey all the time and "Never Alone" by Lady Antebellum. I still love both, but right now my favorite is "Maybe It’s OK Not to Be OK" by We Are Messengers.”

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



Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: Are there places you used to go that you now avoid after the death of your loved one?

From Sheryl, mother of Adam: Even after two years, visiting special places and even looking at pictures of Adam is hard. There are two places that are particularly difficult to face where I haven't returned yet.

One is my brother's home in Texas. I live a thousand miles away. It was the last place I saw Adam. I can picture exactly where we hugged and exchanged, "Love you" on December 31, 2017. Now my brother and sister-in-law are talking about selling the house. I have very mixed feelings about the possibility of never visiting there again. While I dread reliving those last moments, I also will miss all of the wonderful times we had there.

The second place I am drawn to, while being repulsed by, is the church camp in the Black Hills were my family spent many happy times. The children went to camp for several years and we had mini vacations there. The last time we spent time at the camp was to scatter Adam's father's ashes in a place we all love. Someday I'll take Adam's son there.

From Cheryl, mother of Daniel: My son, Dan, died in September 2017. We had worked at the same job, same building for several years. He had transferred to a different location 14 months before he died. Walking through the building, seeing coworkers, passing his last desk every day stirred up crazy mixed emotions. I know he really loved the industry and his job. A majority of people had no idea we were even related. In February 2018, the jobsite closed; and I was blessed to keep my job, but work from home. When I made the transition to home, I cried so hard—leaving the building was harder than leaving the funeral home. He had good friends there and I know he really enjoyed what he did.

Fortunately, my supervisor and her boss both knew him well and understood. I know the corporate guy helping me was clueless as to why I was so tearful. From Dan’s last desk (that area was empty since he died), I took his keyboard, mouse and phone just to have the smallest piece of him to take with me. If I’m in the area, I’ll pull into the parking lot and just think of him and the fun we all shared at work.

From Samira, mother of Andres: In the beginning, I tried to move from my condominium where I raised my son, Andres, since he was in third grade, but I said why do I need to run from his memories? Now, I am happy I did not move, because he was part of my life. Second, I go to the theme parks in Florida. It was so hard, because I raced with Andres through all the theme parks. I am glad I applied the same rule—why can’t I go to the places where Andres was happy? I broke that barrier. The only place I couldn’t go was Epcot, the country of Japan, until I again asked why? It was his dream to serve his country there. Now I enjoy being there, remembering everywhere I was with my son Andres and the good times!

From Beth, ex-wife of Thomas: It's very difficult to go to eating places we used to go. I also changed dentists, too, as it was too difficult having to explain that Tom died. I also have found it hard to run into people we both knew and explain he is gone. One thing that I have done is apply for a job in another area, but the bad news is I still have to visit our old neighborhood on weekends.

From Debbie, wife of Thomas: The first year Tom was dead, I was in a complete dead zone myself. I functioned and took care of what was needed, but I was just blank personally. When I did go around places people knew him it was sort of healing. At the bank, the lady we always went to was as sad as me. The people at Home Depot asked, “Where's Tom?” I was sad. Even those at Costco asked, “Where’s hubby?” It was clear they were sad as well. Tom was a very friendly man and people loved him. A year after he died, I went to get my taxes done and the tax lady looked and asked if hubby was on his way. I went to my eye checkup and the staff and doctor asked, “Where's Tom?” It was a lot, but it felt good that he was so loved by so many everywhere we lived. It made me proud and I felt better to see how loved he was.

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.


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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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Celebrating National Mentoring Month

During this National Mentoring Month, we want to express our gratitude for all of our mentors:

  • TAPS Peer Mentors who take their experience as a military survivor and offer support to those new to grief.
  • Military and Legacy Mentors who companion the youngest members of our family, offering a safe and supportive community.

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn throughout the month, where we will be sharing resources and articles about mentoring, along with quotes and testimonials from our mentors and mentees.

Color and Flow: A Women's Empowerment Virtual Retreat

If you're a female survivor who can identify a disconnect between emotions and the physical body, we invite you to consider joining us for Color and Flow, an eight-week virtual retreat from February 12 to April 9, 2021 focusing on the ways that we feel blocked or unbalanced. Using movement and creativity, we’ll learn new languages for expressing ourselves and for resolving hurt, pain, and trauma. We’ll investigate where we’re closed off and where we’re wide open, working to understand how we can restore a healthy flow of emotions and energy. As we do, we’ll learn techniques for making sure that we can live vibrantly, even while we’re grieving - tapping into the power that comes from being able to function on the entire emotional spectrum. Color and Flow application now open.

Join TAPS At One of Our 2021 Seminars

Registration is now open for our 2021 Regional Seminars and our National Military Survivor Seminar. In - Person and Virtual Opportunities are available.

TAPS Seminars offer a comprehensive model of care that brings together adult survivors of all ages for a weekend of hope and healing. Whether you recently lost your hero, have lived many years without them or are somewhere in between, TAPS Seminars are designed to meet you where you are in your grief journey. 

Breath of Fresh Air with TAPS Outdoors: Breathing In The New Year

TAPS Outdoors wants to help you reconnect with the natural world in simple yet meaningful ways with weekly activities you can do anywhere. (Yes, we really mean anywhere.) Our goal is to connect you with the healing power of nature no matter where you live and give you the tools to make meaning out of your experiences. 

As many of us have experienced in our grief, a year of great loss and challenge can also give way to new life and hope. Join us in January for Breathing In The New Year, as we transition into a new year and explore the wild, forging new paths together in our hearts and set foot on trails we've yet to see. 

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

COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at

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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 202-588-8277.