Saturday Morning Message: Places That Touch Our Hearts

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

With the winter touching many parts of our nation, I thought a picture of a sunrise over a calm lake would be good start for today’s Saturday Morning Message

Striking Sunset at the TAPS Grand Teton Survivor Retreat

Once again there are many different responses to the question about places that pull at our heartstrings. This week I am going to add one of my own. For me, the most difficult place is the church where my children grew up. Bryon and his sister served as acolytes there for many years. When it came time for the funeral, I could think of no better place. As time went by, I found that I couldn’t enter the church without tears coming to my eyes, so I changed churches, but let everyone know why and they understood. I went back to visit friends for a service during the past Christmas season, but I still found myself with tears part way through the service and it has been 17 years. I will go back to visit, but not for awhile, or maybe just go to coffee hour after. It is important to know what is best for us.

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 

Have you ever thought about attending a TAPS event? The responses to this week’s question may give others an idea about what to expect. This week’s question is: What is the best thing about a TAPS seminar, retreat or other event? We look forward to your thoughts. 

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 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

Debra, wife of Thomas, sent the song this week which is "Since I Lost You" by Genesis.

If you have a song that is special to you or reminds you of your loved one, please send it along with a sentence or two about what makes this song meaningful to you. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. You can sign up for Spotify for free to listen to the playlist. The playlist is called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance. 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 Brenda, mother of Steven: In 2008 we visited Branson, Missouri. This was between my son, Steven’s, high school graduation and his going to boot camp. Steven was KIA October 24, 2010. It is hard for me to think about that trip. I don't know why. My husband would like to visit again, but I can't bring myself to go. I heard the Roy Rogers museum had closed. I feel sad about that, because our two boys really enjoyed themselves there. The military museum was another place we all enjoyed seeing. Maybe someday we will go back. I'm just not ready. 

From Winona, wife of Clifford and mother of Tamara: Yes! I have avoided my in-law’s home in Oklahoma since Cliff's death in 2014. At first I could not understand why. I loved his mother and sister and their horse farm. As I tried to figure this out, I discovered that I was overwhelmed with memories of me and my husband spending happy times with our children as they were growing up, riding horses, making root beer floats, taking the paddle boat out on the pond. I just couldn't bear the weight of those memories. 

Last March I decided to venture out with some of my grown children and their families to attend our niece's wedding. As I write this, I can only remember that the visit was bittersweet and I am glad I went, although I doubt I will do it again. 

From Leslie, mother of Eugene:There is a place that I try to avoid. It is Annapolis. It is where he lived last and he loved living there. I just find it very hard to return. The old Annapolis area is wonderful, beautiful and exciting. I have many wonderful memories of being with my son in the old Annapolis area and the Naval Academy, which is nearby. He lived in the newer Annapolis area which is beautiful. I can’t bring myself to go near the home that he had purchased and that I helped him decorate. It’s a shame, but I just find it very hard. 

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: There are so many places that I avoid since the death of my son. At one time, I was a substitute teacher at my son's high school. It is so painful to drive past the school and the football field where his football team practiced every day. I tried to go back to work, but it was too difficult. When Josh was alive, I would talk about him to the teachers and the high school kids. I was so proud of him. 

My family has asked me to go to the Endymion Parade in New Orleans this year. When Josh was stationed in Belle Chasse before Hurricane Katrina, he had taken me to my brother's house in New Orleans for the parade. It was so much fun, but there is no way I can ever go to that parade again. Ever. 

As I sit here and write this story on my laptop with a cup of coffee next to me, I can watch the birds play in the birdbath and the squirrels scurrying for nuts. I can see my dog playing outside. I put an angel and a Texas-shaped stepping stone in front of a big tree. Joshua bought us that stone. It means so much to me now. I used to love to look out and watch nature unfold right before my eyes. It was magical. But now I feel only melancholy. It has been almost two years since Josh has left us. I long for the day that past memories and places will feel sweet and warm and bring a smile to my face. 

From Patrice, mother of Jalen: Our son Jalen worked at a Whataburger near our house when he finished high school and just before entering the Navy.

I thought I was OK to go through the drive-thru recently, but by the time I got to the window I was in tears. So now I don't go there. I can't even drive by without remembering picking him up or taking him to work there. Someday I pray I will be able to, but right now I just can't. 

From Tabitha, wife of Michael: My husband loved movies. We also had two boys who loved movies. This meant there was a trip to the theatre almost every Friday. It became a family event. Everyone had popcorn and we all chose a movie as a family to watch. The boys were actually getting to the point where we let them watch a movie in a different theater. Now, I can't go. It was a family event and I no longer have a family. But I am pushing myself to try to go. I've actually been twice this year and that's a big step for me. The point is to try to push yourself to go even though it hurts. I can't just not go to the movies for the rest of my life. Hold on to the good and push yourself to do better. 

From Merry, mother of Wesley: In my travels around the community, there are always places where the family took part in activities and I remember Wes often everyday. Sometimes I think I should move away from here specifically for that reason — there are so many places everyday! They are fond memories. My thoughts are: Wes, you were on this earth in this spot when you were alive. You are now in Heaven and I will see you again.

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.

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).