Saturday Morning Message: Uplifting Our Spirits

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

Uplifting our spirits on the grief journey can sometimes be a daunting task. This week survivors share ideas about what they find useful to raise their feelings when they are down. One of the methods sent by Winona, spouse of Clifford, is gardening. She sent this beautiful picture of her garden — you will read more below about how she accomplishes a more peaceful perspective. I hope you will enjoy all of the ideas sent by survivors for this week’s message.

Winona's Garden

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: What do you do to uplift your spirits when you find yourself feeling gloomy?

From Winona, spouse of Clifford: The things I do to uplift my spirit change from time to time. In this season of my grief and healing, it is gardening. Just sitting in the warmth of the sun feeling the warm dirt in my hands tends to take all my cares away. My husband loved Monarch butterflies, so I have a butterfly garden with a butterfly puddler that attracts these beautiful winged creatures. My daughter loved to feed hummingbirds. In a different area of my yard, I have hummingbird feeders to attract these fascinating beauties. The time I spend caring for these pleasures gives me peace and tranquility as I feel close to my loved ones and to my Creator.

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: I lost my son almost two and a half years ago. I had to call TAPS several times in that first year. I was so distraught. I was in survival mode only. I physically and mentally felt sick. As time went on, I had to find new ways to lift my spirits when I was really sad. I was already attending a grief group, so I decided to go to therapy. The therapist focused on how I was feeling and what I could do to help myself get better. She asked me about my interests and suggested that I utilize them, I am guessing as a way of distraction. Before Josh died, I loved to socialize, write, read and swim. I did not want to participate in any of those activities after Josh died. Gradually, I would attempt it. I find that when I am really feeling gloomy, I want to stay inside in isolation at first and then talk to others about my grief later. I lay around, watch TV, do word searches or try to focus on reading a book. I get on my laptop, look at Facebook and check my emails. I can look out of my back window and watch my dog racing around, the birds fluttering about and the squirrels climbing trees and planting pecans. The cicadas are chirping like crazy this morning. Sometimes I go out in the backyard with a cup of tea and just watch nature. Other times, I push myself to take a shower, get dressed and get going. I also go to an aqua-jogging class at the YMCA. Maybe when I am feeling sad, it would be more healthy to talk to someone at that time and cry it out, but sometimes I use distraction instead. I usually talk about my grief later to my TAPS buddies on a text chat, audio chat, or to others at a local grief group. I guess you could say I now put my grief on hold until I can talk about it. It works for me.

From Robin, spouse of Alex: When I'm feeling sad or angry, I write Alex a letter. Usually I include what is bothering me or concerns about our kids. So far, I've just sealed them in an envelope that I keep in my purse. I also listen to music by one of the Irish bands we liked, The High Kings. I'm pretty sure I've shared this song in a past response, but their version of “Red Is The Rose” is a song he used to sing to me. It is set as the ringtone on my cell phone.

From Perry, father of Christopher: With my experiences in the Marine Corps I had a problem with PTSD and survivor’s guilt long before the death of my son. With help I was able to recognize what would trigger my depression. Since that time, I have experienced the death of my son and more combat experiences as well. There are two times of the year I know that my depression is going to happen. One is October 23-25, the anniversary of the Beirut bombing and the death of my son in Iraq. The other is late January as the gray dingy sky reminds me of the oil fires of the first Gulf War and other places I have seen in the Marine Corps. I have a song that is my weapon I use to fight my depression. I will start my day listening to this song to fight my depression and motivate me. Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock” reminds me of when I joined the Marine Corps. I still have that same pride and determination. This is one song that gives me the strength to carry on when I get depressed.

From Laura, mother of Aaron: I practice my violin or piano. I play professionally and always have pieces to work on anyway, but there is nothing better to soothe my soul than immersing myself in the music. It’s always been that way, but especially since we lost Aaron in 2013. I don’t know what I would have done without it!

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

Debbie, spouse of Thomas, wrote to me to ask how others go on with their lives and still respect their loved one’s service. So the question this week is: What are you doing to honor your loved one’s service while learning to live a life without his/her physical presence? I’m sure many who will read the next message will be interested in your response.

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.


♫ Song for the Week

Caryn, mother of Nathan, wrote, “Mom passed away on July 3 and is finally free of her Parkinson’s and dementia. I'm also right in between what would have been my son, Nate's 40th birthday and the angelversary of my husband’s passing. That said, I've been playing  “You're Always On My Mind” sung by Sam Cooke quite often. The music is soothing for me at times! Not always, but perfect right now!”

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).