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.


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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.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

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.