Saturday Morning Message: To Continue Traditions or Not?

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Sometimes it is comforting to go to a place that was special to you and your loved one. This is a photo of Lake Tahoe sent by a survivor, Debbie, spouse of Tom, for inclusion in an earlier Saturday Morning Message. She wrote, “Lake Tahoe will always be my happy place and its magic holds the most incredible memories of joy, happiness and true love that never will die.”

Lake Tahoe

Debby writes about the location of her wedding, a place that is comforting to her, but others may find visiting these special places or continuing to do events that brought you pleasure together too difficult to continue now. This week, survivors shared a variety of feelings about those precious customs. We hope you enjoy this week’s message.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What is something you did with your loved one that you continue to do? 

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: My son and I watched “Doctor Who” together. I continue to watch it now. Sometimes with my grandson, his nephew. I feel close to him while watching.

From Sandra, mother of Joshua: I still go out to eat at Casarez. When my son played football, he and his buddies would go out to eat at Casarez after practice. All of the boys were on a budget and they could buy a foot-long burrito with rice and beans, chips and salsa and a giant iced tea for an affordable price. Josh took his daddy and me out to eat at Caserez and it quickly became our favorite Mexican restaurant. My husband and I still eat there. It is bittersweet.

From Elizabeth, spouse of Joseph: My husband Joe was about the only one in the family who liked lima beans. He insisted on us having succotash on Thanksgiving, so we had "do it yourself”; one bowl of corn and another of lima beans. He, his sister and one of our daughters made the combination. The rest of us just had corn. Our daughter, Maria, got married Thanksgiving weekend, 2012. The buffet included traditional succotash.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I thought about your question for a couple of days. My son and I had different interests except for cooking. I had recipes from relatives that I shared with him. I no longer cook those things, because it’s painful to think that he should be by my side telling me how I’m doing things wrong when it’s me who taught him.

From Laura, daughter of James: Dad always had amazing gardens...vegetables and flowers, fruit trees and berry bushes. We would walk around the yard and look at them all and talk. That's also how I learned to identify fruits and vegetables growing up. As the cancer took hold of dad, the gardens went by, the walks got shorter; but the walks continue now that dad is gone. When family members come over, we walk in the yard and talk. Whether it is here, a family member’s house or at Mom's, you will find somebody doing a "yard walk”. 

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 and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Is there a special gift or present your loved one gave you?

Perry, father of Christopher, sent the next question which is: Is there a special gift or present your loved one gave you? Tell us something about it and share a picture if you would like. We look forward to your responses.

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome. You can reply to this message or email In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.

♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song was sent by Anne, mother of Michael and wife of John. It is "God Bless the USA" sung by Lee Greenwood, Home Free and The Singing Sergeants. Anne writes, “I love our country so much that when I hear that song it always brings tears to my eyes. The USA is the greatest country and I am proud to be an American!”

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.