Saturday Morning Message: Gifts from Our Loved Ones

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

The opening picture shows photos of the loved ones of those who sailed on the TAPS New England cruise. I thought it shows that our loved ones gave the gift of love just by being themselves. This week survivors share some other special presents their loved ones offered. Some are physical items and others are memories the survivors carry on to others. I know you will enjoy reading them.

photos of the loved ones of those who sailed on the TAPS New England cruise

In addition to reading the Saturday Morning Message sent by email, you can also read it on the TAPS Facebook page. You can respond to the question of the week there or you can send your reply to me in the regular way by sending it to I feel so fortunate to have our thoughts go out in a variety of ways to even more people. You can still write to me anytime — to contribute, subscribe or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I always look forward to hearing from you.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Answers from Survivors

Responses from Survivors to last week's question: What is a gift that your loved one left for you that you now pass along to others?

From Megan, sister of Timothy: My brother left behind the quote "I don't plan on running," which I now use as the motto for my foundation, which was started in his honor. It's a motivational way to encourage others to not give up.

From Janice, spouse of David: He had two Marine Corps rings and I shared one with my daughter ❤️❤️ I know he would be happy I did.

From James, father of Andrew: What gift has Andy left for me? His ability to really see, beyond just what your eyes see; it’s more than just looking at things differently. Andy saw so much when he looked at things. He saw the essential parts of what was there, not just what you see with your eyes. So reading this question this evening led me to this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery (I know Andy led me here): "What is essential is invisible to the eye."  I get to teach kids in schools. I try to do that every day—to show that I believe that they are capable of showing that they can and should believe in themselves and their own abilities. Andy always knew how to find just the right gift. This one isn’t something that I get to see, show, or touch, but it is touching when I get to see its effect when others show what they can do and what it does for them. I’m grateful I have the opportunity to pass this gift along to others.

From Christine, spouse of Dennis: I remember Dennis everyday of my life, because I have his two children, Kyle, who looks like him, and Kaitlin, who looks like me.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: My son left no tangible gift specifically for me. He died so suddenly. What he left behind were memories. I laugh every time there is a snow storm. He used to call when the first flake fell to tell me to run to the supermarket for bread, toilet paper and batteries. I laugh when practicing piano pieces that are so heavy and even bombastic because he would sleep through my practice. My heart warms in the spring when flowers bloom, trees grow green leaves and people looked happier. He loved flowers and flowering trees. I still chuckle thinking of him coming home for a visit and finding missing spots on the walls knowing they ended up on his walks. I have these memories that keep me sane.

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

Since the Thanksgiving holiday is coming right up and many of us will be preparing foods that are special to our families and our loved ones, I thought a good question for this week would be: What was your loved one's favorite food for the Thanksgiving holiday? The answers will be printed after the holiday, and if you have a picture of the dish or one of your loved one preparing it, we will be glad to include it. This week it is best to send your response to by Monday morning.


♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song, "Traveling Soldier," sung by the Dixie Chicks, was sent by Perry, father of Christopher, who wrote, “When I heard this song, I thought of my son. He had a fiancé and it made me think of them together. Also, I thought of my sister who had a boyfriend who went to Vietnam and never came back.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.

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).