Saturday Morning Message: Tokens Left at the Cemetery

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

When survivors go to the cemetery to spend time, they bring items that are meaningful to their loved one and themselves. The opening picture came from Claire, daughter of William. As you can see, she brings items that go with the season. The cemetery where my son, Bryon, lies allows only flowers, stones and wreaths. This week survivors shared the many different things they bring. I know you will enjoy reading the responses. It is always best to check with the cemetery before you plan to leave something there.

pumpkin on headstone

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 have you left at the cemetery as a token of your relationship?


easter peeps candy at headstone

From Leslie, spouse of James: Peeps! He hated Peeps. One Easter a friend threw them in our yard as a joke. Our daughters thought the Easter bunny did it, so that began the tradition of Peeps in our yard at Easter. The first Easter after his death, at the suggestion from one daughter, we gathered up all the Peeps from our yard from the “Easter Bunny” and “Peeped” daddy’s grave. Our daughters are now in college, but we still Peep him every year.

From Christine, spouse of Dennis: My husband used to give every girl he liked in high school a bag of green M & M's. One day, he presented me with a bag of green ones. I was so thrilled! So, after his death, I took a bag of green ones to his grave. I know the military only left it there for so long, but it was between us.  

Mom I love you rock

From Carol, mother of Dustin: I write notes on rocks and leave them on my son, Dustin's, grave. Imagine my surprise when I found this one there one day. So sweet.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: I normally leave stones on top of his stone. It’s tradition. Rocks are left to show that people paid their respects. If I want to leave something more sentimental, I bury it in front of his stone.

Toast at headstone

From Jessica, sister of Justin: Beer bottle caps. My brother died before he turned 21. We never got to share a beer, so I take one to his final resting place and pour some out for him. Notice the name of the beer at the bottom of the label.

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 

Self care is an important healing component to the grieving person. This week we will share ideas to others who may need some thoughts on how you take care of yourself while grieving. The question is: What do you do to practice self care? 

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday morning. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have.


♫ Song for the Week

From Cheryl, mother of Patrick, often visits the cemetery where he is buried. She wrote, “Sometimes I sit and have a Budweiser with him. There is a song I love ‘Lullaby for a Soldier.’ I have laminated lyrics and his photo attached to a wreath or flag. Others have left coins. Some of which have been taken or I find scattered after rain/snow and replace them. 


You can send your favorite songs for this song of the week section at and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you. I receive all responses sent to that email address.


Related Stories

heart shaped locket

Saturday Morning Message: Small Treasures

What survivors choose to keep tells us a lot about their loved one who died and the full life they lived.

treasures from loved ones

Saturday Morning Message: Small Treasures Part 2

Small tokens and items that were special to our loved ones are left behind. Survivors share what they do with them. Holding them close keeps fresh the memories of better times.

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).