Saturday Morning Message: Books That Have Helped Us

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

The man in the photo is reading a book, "Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Military Death", written by TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll and world renowned grief educator and author Dr. Alan Wolfelt. It is designed to offer encouragement and bring comfort to those who read it.

TAPS Survivor reading book

Sometimes it is hard to find a book that you would like to read, so this week survivors are sharing books that have helped them either with their grief journey or during this time when they are spending more time at home.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

Do you have a book you would like to share that has helped you in your grief or helped you with coping in the pandemic?

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: I don't have a particular book that helps me. I have a series of books called "Ender’s Game" written by Orson Scott Card. My son and I read these books together. I start on January 1 every year and reread the series.

From Lonnie, spouse of Larry: "Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief" by Martha Whitmore Hickman. I have given this book to a few people after the loss of a loved one. I read the passages when I feel the need.

From Katherine, mother of John: Of the many books read during this pandemic; only two really stand out. "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger and "The Taster" by V.S. Alexander.

"Ordinary Grace" set in rural New Bremen, Minnesota is about a pastor's family and the town in handling several deaths during the summer of 1961. Frank Drum, a 13 year old preacher's kid is the narrator. The book deals with secrets that destroy us, grief, solace in ordinary (simplistic) grace, and the coming of age.

"The Taster" is set in Berlin, Germany during World War II. Magda Ritter is responsible (after being educated about mushrooms and the poisons of arsenic, mercury, and cyanide) for tasting the food served to Adolf Hitler. How she escapes is quite miraculous.

From Robert, father of John: My recommendations for great reading on tragic deaths and dealing with that are by Jerry Sittser, "A Grace Disguised" and the sequel "A Grace Revealed". The books are a narrative on Jerry’s grief journey after his wife, his mother and his daughter were all killed by a drunk driver in Washington state.

If you would like to send a note commenting on one or all of the responses in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to and your thoughts will be passed along to each contributor. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Everyone is good at something. Next week, let’s share a knack that our loved one had for something. It can be anything serious or funny. It will be interesting to read about the ability or skill that our loved ones demonstrated in their lives.

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 to those who read this message.


Recipe for the Week


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From Perry, father of Christopher: I got one of my favorites my Grandmother would love to make. I had to translate the recipe from my Grandmother's language. We would eat it all the time when Chris was at home visiting my parents. It was like he could never get his fill.

Grandmother’s Stuffed Kapusta Rolls


  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 cup quick-cooking rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1-pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted, divided
  • 1/2 cup water


  • Cook cabbage in boiling water only until leaves fall off the head. Reserve 14-16 large leaves for rolls and set aside remaining cabbage.
  • In a bowl, combine rice, beef, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup soup. Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Fold in sides, then roll up leaves to completely enclose meat.
  • Line a Dutch oven with leftover cabbage leaves. Combine remaining soup and water; pour over cabbage. Stack cabbage rolls on top of sauce. Cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer on low for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until rolls are tender.
  • Remove rolls and cabbage. If desired, sauce may be thickened by boiling over high heat. Spoon sauce over rolls and cabbage. Then serve immediately.

Next Week: We will feature a song from a survivor and why it is special to the them.

If you have a favorite recipe or song for this section, please send your ideas to me at and include a note about why there is meaning for 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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TAPS Store: Free Holiday Shipping Promotion

Planning to do your holiday shopping with TAPS? Our TAPS Online Store is excited to announce our holiday shipping promotion. From Friday, November 27 through Sunday, December 13, spend $50 in the TAPS Online Store and receive FREE ground shipping. 

Women's Empowerment - December Programming

Are you looking for additional support during this time? You may just find your sisterhood during our Women's Empowerment programming events! Beginning on December 4, a variety of sessions are available daily from Tuesday to Friday of each week and are open to all TAPS women wrestling with questions of identity and purpose after loss. 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

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Wreaths Across America

TAPS and Wreaths Across America have teamed up to honor those who served and died for our country Please honor and remember our country’s fallen heroes by sponsoring a Remembrance Wreath that will be laid on the graves of our military and veteran loved ones. Orders for 2020 placement must be made by end of day on Monday, November 30, 2020. You could also join us on December 19, 2020, by volunteering to lay wreaths. Invite your family and friends, as well.

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Military Sibling Grief Survey

If you are a military surviving sibling, we invite you to share about your grief experience and perceptions of support you have received in a Military Sibling Grief Survey being conducted by Dr. Courtney Sanchez, a Gold Star sibling and doctor of psychiatric medicine with Prisma Health Midlands in Columbia, South Carolina.

Participation in this survey is completely anonymous. Dr. Sanchez's goal is to create a better understanding of this unique survivor population in order to help provide support for surviving siblings.


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Choose TAPS as Your AmazonSmile Charity of Choice

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.