Saturday Morning Message: Meaningful Objects

Author: Carol Lane

Fun picture of Charlene's son Devin as a child

Good morning,

This week survivors wrote about items that celebrate the love they have for their special people. Some told about items that were worn by their loved ones while others wrote about objects they bought or were given to them by those who wanted to show their care.

The picture comes from Charlene, mother of Devin. I thought you would enjoy reading why the picture shows this young child’s gleeful facial expression. Here is Charlene’s explanation, I got this at my very first TAPS seminar 2016. This picture defines my son’s humor. He’s holding a huge bullfrog in the other hand and the reason for his facial expression is it peed on his shirt. To him though it’s thumbs up and all good. I had a serious fear of flying before he passed. Now I bring him with me every time I travel. I feel safe and don’t fear anything anymore. Also I represent being a proud Marine mom.”

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 online@taps.org.

Hugs,
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?

crocheted prayer napkin

From Bruce, father of Brian: When Brian died we were overwhelmed with cards from military families across the country. One card contained one blue and one pink crocheted prayer napkin. I carried mine for over a year everyday. Lately, I only carry it around the 12th of the month and other days that I feel overwhelmed. I reached out to the lady who is an Army mother and told her how important her gift was for me. I hope she truly knows. I have surrounded myself with so many objects that he owned or remind me of him, but that baby blue prayer napkin is my crutch.

From Rebecca, mother of Griffin: I carry Griff’s 1st 464th Transportation Company coin with me always. Also carry the 464th Transportation Company coin that the Base Commander gave me the day after Griff joined Heaven's Military. The base commander, along with his sergeants, also came to the house. The 464th were truly family to each other. The coins are given with respect and heart.

From Barbara, spouse of Lawrence: I have a locket that has ashes of my husband in it.  I wear it around my neck so I have him with me at all times. Very comforting.

From Perry, father of Christopher: There is something I have with me always on my keychain that keeps me motivated and is a memorial to a great man I served under. Many years ago my military mentor gave me a link of chain when I was a young Marine NCO. Telling me the story that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The point is to know where you are weak and you are strong. That you have got this no matter the problem life hands you. Sadly, it was only a few months after this that my mentor found out he had stage 4 cancer. Within a month of finding out about the cancer he passed away. It is my most treasured thing from my 24 years of service in the Marine Corps.

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: I have my son’s uniform. Since his passing in 2016, it has hung in the closet. My dad made the frame for it. It is special to me, because he wore it while in service.

From Hope, spouse of Dennis: I carry Dennis in my heart, so he is with me at all times. I carry a lock of Dennis’ hair in my wallet. I can take it out and brush it against my cheek like brushing my lips over his head in the past anytime I want to or just leave it there and know it exists. I carry his pocket knife instead of my own, so every time I need a knife to cut a flower or to open a box, I have his knife. I carry his cell phone all the time. I only use it to call myself if I can’t find my own, but I like knowing it was his and I can see where he accidentally opened the flip phone and took a picture of himself. I have put that as the picture on the screen of his phone. I carry the love we had for 49 years and it breaks my heart he is gone. Suicide is a tragic ending to the life of such a kind and loving man who was a diamond in the rough. I pray he found the peace he never had since Vietnam.

From Robin, mother of Steven: When my son came back from Afghanistan in 2011, he cut the shoelace holding his dog tags from around his neck. He was about to throw it in the trash when I asked for it. He gave it to me. I made a bracelet out of it. After he passed I added a charm with his picture.

From Sheryl, mother of Adam: Shortly after Adam died, I received a dragonfly keychain from a charity in Minnesota. It was accompanied by a story of dragonfly larva transforming into a beautiful creature. I took the dragonfly as a symbol for Adam.

I purchased a Black Hills gold dragonfly necklace which I wore often. Last month I wore it on a long-planned cruise to Alaska. Adam's family and I had talked about this being a family trip. Now I was going with a friend instead, but I took my "Adam" necklace to represent his spirit. Unfortunately, I lost my dragonfly necklace. The cruise line cannot find it. The necklace was a link, but I miss it.

From Robyn, mother of Cole: My son's fatigues hang in the closet of the room still occupied by my 20-year-old and 17-year-old sons. It was the set that had been in his locker after his accident and they are pretty worn, so we know he'd been actively using these. There is a set of his dog tags in the front pocket. I find it hangs at just about the right height for me to steal a hug every once in a while when I am my missing 6-foot angel. They still smell like him.

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 online@taps.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.

 

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

I always learn something from the thoughts of others, so this week let’s share ideas that help us when we are feeling really down. The question this week is: What do you do to uplift your spirits when you find yourself feeling gloomy? 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 online@taps.org. 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

This week’s song is from Cait, spouse of Robb, who wrote, “Robb and I saw this movie way back when. He liked the song so much he would sing parts of it to me. I used to cry when I would hear it, but not any longer. Now it brings back so many good memories. “Cross My Heart” sung by George Strait is one of my all time favorite songs.”

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at online@taps.org.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS
 

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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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Dare to Lead - Cohort 3

Whether you are looking to enhance your resume or just want to pick up a new skill or two, we are excited to offer a third cohort of our popular Dare to Lead series of workshops, beginning on Sunday, November 15. These sessions are open to TAPS Survivors wanting to bring more courage to their workplace, home, community, or school. It is applicable for both formal and informal leaders (all of us), executives, visionaries, and healers across all spectrums.

Central Regional Seminar 

Join us at the Central Regional Seminar on  November 13 to 15 for a time of sharing, hope, and healing. Our seminars are designed to meet you where you are and help you gain coping skills that will help you find meaning and purpose as you move forward on your grief journey. We are working to make arrangements for this event with safety in mind and look forward to being together again. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS provides all lodging, meals, materials, activities, and T-shirts at no cost to you.

Set Sail with Your TAPS Family! 

This summer, sail with your TAPS Family on the TAPS Alaska Cruise from July 30 to August 10, 2021, through the inside passage to Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas! While onboard, TAPS will have a variety of programs and activities available for you and we will gather each evening for a TAPS Family dinner. And to give you peace of mind, Royal Caribbean has extended their “Cruise with Confidence” program through the end of November. Anyone who books a cabin under that program will be able to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing (for any reason) and receive 100% future credit.

A Breath of Fresh Air

We want to help you reconnect with nature in simple, yet meaningful ways with monthly themes and weekly activities you can do anywhere. Join us as we navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief. You will have access to downloadable content, videos, and articles each week and a family campfire at the end of each month! Find nature where you live, whether it be in your community or your own backyard. Join in our activities and snap a photo to share with us. Let's join together for a Breath of Fresh Air!

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.


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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 smile.amazon.com, 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 online@taps.org.

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.