Saturday Morning Message: Objects that Help Heal

Author: Carol Lane

Tiny cactus plant given to Leslie from son Eugene

Good morning,

This week’s question brought not only responses, but several pictures and an extra song. This picture of comes from Leslie, mother of Eugene. The plant is a cactus and you will read how it is special to her later in the message.

I know you will find joy from all the replies this week, so I will keep my comments short and let you go forward. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I am always looking for questions for future messages. In order to have your reply included in the week’s message, it is best to send your response to me by Tuesday morning of the following week. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this 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

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: Do you have a personal object that really speaks to your heart?

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: One morning on the way to religious nursery school, my son asked me for 50 cents. I gave it to him. It was near Chanukah and thought nothing of it.

When we got home he presented me with this tiny cactus plant. It is meaningful to me and was to him. I have kept this plant and it's gone with me wherever I go. It now flowers. I have had this plant for 35 years. I am sure he giggles in heaven when he sees the flowers. It's over 4 1/2 feet tall now. 

From Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew: When my twins were 3 years old, I had them in the YMCA nursery school and actually got about two hours on my own for two days a week. Not much time to do stuff, and the stores for shopping were not open until 10 am, so it did not fit my schedule.

I often went home and started chores that needed my attention. While I was cleaning out the oven, I was listening to a favorite radio station that held contests all the time. The deal was you had to be the first to call in and have the answer to the name of a song. I grabbed my old phone and kept calling until I got through. I won! The song was “Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” It was one day before the twins’ birthday in November, so I picked them up at school and we headed out to the radio station to get our prize.

Gund bears

It was a beautiful Gund bear, a white, soft little bear named Snuffles — but only ONE! The DJ had a great fun time telling the local world, “What is this mom of twins going to do with one bear?”

Of course, it was an expensive bear, so it was time to begin teaching sharing! We shared that bear with assigned sleeping every night for each of them, and I took care of the daily schedule of whose turn it was to sleep with Snuffles. It carried over for years, even up at our lake home in the summer.

When Andy was killed, my Lisa bought three brand new Gund bears, exactly the same as the original, for Bob, me and her to put on our beds each night. None of us could bury that original bear with Andrew. The old and worn out original Snuffles bear now lives with my daughter in Montana!

I had to put down my special cat named Dandylion a few months ago, Andy gave her to me when he left for the service. My Lisa gave me a fat little Dandylion tiger stuffed cat to be company for Snuffles, and they live on my bed every day.

From Betty, mother of Michael: I still look back with humor at the first Mother’s Day gift my son, Michael, selected and purchased for me. it was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure. He was thrilled — me, not so much. Although his gift-giving skills improved slightly over the years, I continued to open every gift-wrapped box with an air of suspense.

A couple of years before his death, that all changed. That Christmas, he handed me a small box that contained a pair of simple sterling and diamond cross earrings. He was so proud of himself. He knew I would love them and I did. I recognized immediately how much thought and planning had gone into the purchase. For Michael, just going to a jewelry counter was very much out of his comfort zone.

Most days, you will find me wearing those earrings. Often, over the course of the day, I find myself touching them as a connection to Michael. They always bring a smile to my face as I remember the smile on his face when he presented them to me.

And, I have to confess, some days, I even get out my old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure, and smile.

From Caryn, mother of Nathan and spouse of Micheal: From the day my son left this earth, I've worn his dog tags. Not sure why, but they bring me comfort. Also, my bedroom is filled with his collections of dream catchers, wolves, dragons and Buddhas. Then there are the unicorns and ladybug items from my husband, along with all the stuffed monkeys he bought me over the years. All of these objects speak to me and add to my peace of mind daily. I stay surrounded by beautiful memories!

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 responses come from the Saturday Morning Message archives to the question: Do you have a personal object that really speaks to your heart?Is there something you carry with you that is meaningful and helps when times are rough? The July 20 message will contain the responses that have come in to the question this week. We look forward to reading your response. 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. I am always looking for questions for future messages. 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.


♫ Song for the Week

Voices of Service, an all-volunteer group of active duty and retired Army soldiers who actively engage in music-based therapeutic programs for military families recently appeared on the TV show ‘America's Got Talent.’ They sang an inspiring version of Katy Perry's " Rise." The video and song feature retired Master Sgt. Caleb Green, a long-time supporter of TAPS survivors and Good Grief Camp kiddos, and Sgt. Maj. Christal Rheams, who has sung at our National Military Survivor Seminar a few times. We are proud of their service and their commitment to our families!

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

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).