Saturday Morning Message: Attending Funerals After Loss of a Loved One

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The picture today comes from the article, “Blooms of Hope: Finding Strength Amid Devastation,” written by Ellen, fiancée of David. I thought it would be a good opening to this week’s message since Ellen presented the question. In the article, she compares the gradual return of her neighborhood after Hurricane Michael to the change that occurs after the death of a loved one.

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One challenge all of us face is the funeral of a relative or friend and how we will respond. As you will read, there were a variety of responses sent. There were so many that I will split the replies into two weeks, but if you would like to send your answer, please send it along.

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: Have you had difficulty going to a funeral or memorial service since the death of your loved one?

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Yes, I try to avoid funerals. I find them difficult and think of my son and the ordeal I went through at his funeral. Sometimes I do attend the service, but don’t go to the cemetery. I decided that I needed to do what is respectful, but also keep my sanity intact and do what I can. 

From Tabitha, spouse of Michael: When my grandmother passed, it happened to fall very close to the date my husband passed. I was already down when I received the news. I, too, found I could not bring myself to go. I just couldn't go. I could not see death again. Just thinking of it brought back many flashbacks of my husband's funeral and his actual death. I imagine it will take time for me to be able to face death again. My wounds have not healed enough to stand that force. Instead, I hold hope that when I have healed more I may be able to face death again. 

From Robin, mother of Steven: A few years ago I was on a day trip with some ladies from our church. We drove to the French Festival in Richmond hosted by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The trip bonded us together. When our Steven passed these ladies came together to the visitation. They had never met our Steven. It meant so much to me that they came. Recently one of them lost her husband. I remembered how much it meant to see them at Steven’s visitation. My husband and I got to the funeral home and her husband was in the same room our son’s visitation had been in. We walked into the room and I started to cry. My husband and I left the room. It took some time, but I was able to walk back into the room to see my friend and pay respects to her husband. She sent me a note and said she knew how hard it must have been for us to come but she was so glad to see us. And I was glad I was able to persevere and be there for my friend. 

From Michele, mother of Stephen: Going to funerals since my son passed is something I find hard to do. I go out of respect for the family, because I know how much it hurts losing a loved one and the support the family needs. My hardest was a year after my son passed, going to my cousin’s funeral. It was my first. All I could do is kneel by the coffin, cry, give her a kiss goodbye and tell her to tell my son how much I love him. I think that is how I handle funerals now—I think it is a way to connect to my son.

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: I have only attended one memorial service since the death of my son over two years ago. I could not bring myself to go to any memorial services or funerals. Then one of my brothers died. My brother had been very close to my son. I decided to go to my brother’s service because he was my brother. We were very close. I was the oldest and needed to be there for my other siblings. I expected that the memorial service would be held at a church or church hall. Instead, the memorial service was held at a brewery in New Orleans that my brother really loved to go to. I did not know what to expect and I was very nervous, but my siblings and I were there to support each other. The brewery was jam packed with friends and family. Beer, barbecue, muffalettas and Ronnie’s donuts were on the menu. There was a viewing of a video of pictures of my brother throughout his life. It was absolutely beautiful and heartfelt. Everyone expressed such love for my brother and us. I knew my brother would be so happy to know that we gathered together and had a party in his honor. That is how he rolled in life. He would say, “Party on and drink one for me!” 

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

The question this week will continue to be Have you had difficulty going to a funeral or memorial service since the death of your loved one? 

Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. 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 next week’s message, it is best to send your answers 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

Ryan Weaver, brother of Aaron sang at TAPS National Seminar over the Memorial Day weekend. He really moved those who were listening, so I thought one of his songs, "Never Forgotten" should be this week’s song of the week. He speaks to all of us in this song. 

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


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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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The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Celebrating 20 Years of Team TAPS 

For 20 years, Team TAPS has honored our heroes and raised awareness and funds to support the TAPS mission. This year, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we are coming together to create a virtual movement. We will walk, run, bike, swim, and row - find ways to move in honor of our loved ones. We will gain strength, go the distance, and encourage each other. Join us for this adventure

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

Have you lost your job or have reduced household income? How has the pandemic made an impact on your life? If you are grieving the death of a loved one, and their life included military service, we'd like to hear from you.

Your feedback will be used to improve TAPS programs and to communicate survivor needs to donors and stakeholders. Please share how COVID-19 has impacted you by taking our survey.


Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts.

If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email

Those who take either survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback.

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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.  

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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.