Saturday Morning Message: Coping with Waves of Grief

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Every person who grieves experiences times of sadness. We describe them as waves since like the ocean waters arriving on the beach, we can feel that despondency gently for a short period of time or strongly lasting much longer.

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Today survivors share what they find helpful when those waves come upon them. We hope you find these suggestions useful.

Remember all those who grieve experience these feelings and with TAPS you are never alone.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What are some strategies you use to help when those waves of grief come over you? 

From Anne, mother of Michael and spouse of John: When grief comes over me, I sometimes shed a few tears, but at other times I will listen to music or call someone to talk to. I also find myself getting into my car and taking a ride to a small town called Piermont, New York and sitting by the Hudson River!

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: I try to stay busy. My grandson, my daughter's son, looks just like my son. I spend most days with him. We've been designing and playing board games. Sometimes when I write down players' names, I write Mike instead of Chase. It's a reminder that my son is watching over us. It makes me smile knowing that.

From Elizabeth, spouse of Joseph: Luckily my waves seldom last long, so I just hold onto something like Joe's fatigue shirt or the stuffed bunny I've slept with since a week after he died and cry. The bunny was an Easter gift to our then one year old granddaughter who had left it at the house when she and her family went home. Her bunny was replaced, but I needed to keep the original. After three years, it doesn't look that great, but it's still good to hug.

From Cheryl, mother of Jack: When I was overwhelmed and drowning in grief, I called TAPS when I was so at the bottom. It was maybe 4 months after Jack was killed. I had this feeling and I thought - someone at the funeral had given me TAPS information; so I dug it out, called them, and they said there was a good grief and family camp coming up and in driving distance. I dragged my family of 10 to it. We walked in and met people who get it! Exactly what I needed! I also found that reaching out to a friend or family member helped. A lady from SOS - Survivor Outreach Services helped me a lot also with a shoulder to cry on and some books to read. Going to a lake not far from home and sitting, crying or not, helped. Going on a walk, walking my dogs; pets are a big help. I also think doing things like yoga helps. Letting myself grieve when I needed to and telling people about my son was a very important part of my healing. I think the main thing is to reach out to people, find your circle, explore nature, find what works for you.

From Andi, spouse of Christopher: Focusing on the good is what I do. We openly talk about my late husband. My adult children live close and now we have grandkids. We say, “Dad would love this, or said this.” We share pictures with the grandkids of grandpa and talk about him to them. Keeping his memory alive through our voices, thoughts, and actions is important in our family’s healing. On our wedding anniversary, my daughter cooked a feast that “Dad would have loved”. 

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 

What is a special memory of your loved one that you would like to share, so we can get to know that person better?

Several survivors mentioned that talking about their loved ones is helpful in their healing. Let’s share some of those memories in next week’s Saturday Morning Message, so this week’s question is: What is a special memory of your loved one that you would like to share, so we can get to know that person better? We look forward to reading 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, "River" sung by Josh Groban was sent by Leslie, mother of Eugene who wrote, “For most of us, asking for help is something we do not want to do. We have TAPS to ask and get help. This song should remind all that help is available for the asking.” This song is perfect for our topic of strategies to use when grief comes to us

A survivor once suggested we include a song of the week, which has now become a weekly feature. One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a free playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.

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.