Saturday Morning Message: "I'm OK. but..."

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

Since tomorrow is Fathers’ Day, the opening picture is of James and his son, Andrew, when the family went on a vacation to New Jersey and played miniature golf and Rally Ball. Although this week’s question is about remembering things our loved ones said, I thought you would enjoy seeing the picture of the these two smiling vacationers.

Sometimes the things our loved ones say stick in our minds and bring back great memories. This week survivors have shared these sayings, and you get a chance to get to know these wonderful people. Enjoy this week’s message.

James and his son, Andrew

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What are the things your loved one said that you remember most? 

From Paula, mother of Drew: When my son was a little boy and saw that I was upset (I’m a crier), he’d put his arm around me and say, "Be happy, Mommy." When he was away with the Army, he'd end all his letters to me with, "Be happy, Momma. Everything is going to work out." Whenever I’m sad and missing him, I hear him tell me to "Be Happy, Momma." So in honor of my son and his lifelong wish for me, I do my best to live a happy life because I know that’s what he wants for me.

From Perry, father of Christopher: You could say we were a military family with my mother’s father in the Army, my father in the Navy and myself in the Marines, each of us serving in different branches of the military. Christopher never knew that his great grandfather served in the Army like him. It was in his junior year of high school after 9/11 when he felt he needed to serve. We had talked about him going to Purdue University before 9/11 with plans of working in NASA as many astronauts and scientists had graduated from there.

At the time, I was stationed in Texas when one night I got a call from Indiana. It was Chris. He had come to the decision he wanted to enlist in the Army. I asked him what about college as we had talked about. This was his answer: “Dad, you and Pawpaw (his grandfather) served, now it is my turn to serve. When I get done, I can go to college.” He said it with such pride in his voice. He had always liked military things growing up. I always said he was the patriot of my three sons as each one was different. Chris was killed a little more than a year after that in October of 2005 in Iraq.

From Leslie, mother of Stephen: There is no doubt it is the start of a sentence: "I'm OK, but…" The first time we heard this he was deployed in Korea and he called me at work and started with, "I'm OK, but…" Immediately the thought of him getting hurt entered my mind and I reassured myself, "at least he is able to call and the Army has not come to notify me." I drew all the strength I had and asked, "but what?" 

He replied, "I had a slight bicycle accident and need a new helmet." Relieved it wasn't something worse, he told me where to go and who to ask for to get him a helmet so I could send it to him. 

This became the way he usually announced anything new to us. Most of the time everyone and everything was OK, but it was just life happening. We now have adopted this when we have to deliver life happening news: "I'm OK, but..."  We are so grateful that this makes us laugh as we remember all his "I'm OK buts."


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

TAPS has created many events that you can access virtually. In this way, you can enjoy care groups, workshops and activities for the children. At one of the virtual TAPS care groups last weekend, a question came up from a new survivor that I thought would make a good Saturday Morning Message question: What do you do for anniversaries, birthdays or angelversaries? 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, "Eagles and Horses." sung by John Denver was sent by Debby, spouse of Thomas, who wrote, "Since Tom was a Marine, he used to collect eagle statues and I just liked John Denver and the powerful lyrics this song contains."

There is a great need for more songs for this section. You can send favorite songs for this song of the week section to and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.


Share Your Thoughts

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.


Related Stories

Allicia Johnson at husband's headstone

5 Ways to Create Memories with Your Loved One Who Died

One of the most painful parts of grief is facing a string of tomorrows without your loved one, but I firmly believe memories can still be created today, tomorrow, weeks, months and years after your loved one has died.

Surviving moms at hero wall

Sharing Memories

Surviving moms point out their loved ones on the hero wall at the 2017 Annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. Read more memories shared by survivors.

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).