Saturday Morning Message: Food has the power to heal

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

After learning that someone’s loved one has passed, one of the things neighbors and friends do is bring their favorite food dish to the bereaved. Foods can help the traumatized body after the loss of a loved one. Chris Shank, brother of Jeremy, shared his thoughts about the love cooking food brought from his grandmother’s kitchen in an article titled "Taste the Love". The article includes a family recipe in case you would like to try it and smell the roast beef and noodles cooking in your own kitchen. 

Roast Beef

This week survivors have written about foods their loved ones liked and the preparation that bring back pleasurable memories. We hope you enjoy the article and also the responses about favorite foods made with their loved ones.

Last week I made a mistake for which I must apologize. Sheryl, mother of Adam, was the survivor who wrote the response to the question:What is one of the funniest things your loved one did? She wrote, “Adam and his father were both theater majors in college. One Christmas they dressed up as kings and sang a disco version of “We Three Kings. The rest of the family laughed until we cried. I smile whenever I hear that song.” I attributed that memory to someone else.

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: What is one dish you ate that brought you comfort in the early stages of your loss?

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: My son liked to eat especially when his brother graduated from culinary school, but he loved my meatballs with baked ziti even more than the fancy dishes his brother could make from what seemed like nothing in the refrigerator. I was never sure he loved them because I made them or he loved them because his amazing Nani taught me how to make meatballs and sauce before I married his father. Nevertheless, that would be the food he wanted on leave.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Wes really liked a "Stuffed Meatloaf."  It was a meatloaf mixture in an 18 x12 inch shape, spread with mashed potatoes, and included spinach and spices. It was then rolled up into a log shape and baked. One complete meal! The family liked it, too.

From Laura, mother of Nathaniel: Nathan was a foodie and loved to cook and eat everything in moderation, of course, but the one food that was special to us both are peanut butter cookies. They weren’t his favorite (I know he enjoyed them all), but they are mine. He’d often asked me to bake him some. Many times I’d received random text requests stating, “Madre, cookies.” To which I’d reply, “On their way.” I baked them fresh when he was in town. Because he lived in California the past few years, I’d order and ship some to him. I stocked up on Girl Scout cookies nearly every season just for him.

Now, I include peanut butter cookies in new and recurring family traditions or I share them at potluck events simply to remember the love, honor his life and share the journey, internally.

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 

Perry, father of Christopher sent this week’s question: Did your loved one have a favorite hobby or collection that he or she found relaxing? We would love to include a picture next week if you have one to share.

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 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

Cheryl, mother of Jack sent a list of songs her daughters sent her to help her grieving heart. "Don’t Give Up" sung by Sanctus Real is one of those songs and this week’s song of the week.

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.


Related Articles

pozole verde dish

Rich in Love and Food: Pozole Verde

Surviving mother Gabriela Chavez shares a family recipe that was her son Christian's favorite to prepare and enjoy with family and friends.

healthy food

The Trauma-Healing Diet

TAPS Advisory Board member Dr. James Gordon says that what we eat can enhance or hinder our healing from trauma. In this excerpt from "The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma," he shares what foods are best for us.

Other Items and Events of Interest

Caregiver to Survivor Program banner

TAPS recognizes the urgent need to support families who have lost a military loved one after having been a caregiver. The leading cause of death of our military loved ones is reported by survivors to be illness, but we know there are many survivors that experienced a loss after having cared for a loved one who was traumatically injured or diseased as well. 

At TAPS we understand, and we’re here to support our survivors as they navigate a grief journey that may have begun even before the death of your loved one. And, we are mindful of the differences present when someone has been a caregiver before they have transitioned to a survivor. The Caregiver to Survivor Program was developed with this in mind. 

We invite you to explore our resources and encourage you to reach out for support and take advantage of this exciting new program. 

▶▶  Connect With Other Survivors of Illness Loss

Join with other caregivers who supported their loved one through a devastating illness. Honor and share your loved one, the emotions, issues and challenges facing bereaved caregivers. Regardless of the circumstance or geography of the death, you are welcome in the TAPS Caregiver Support Chat. 

Caregiver to Survivor Chat
Wednesday, May 19
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Eastern
We hope to see you there!

▶▶  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.

Did you lose your loved one due to an illness?

Illness Loss Survey

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

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).