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


silverware icon

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.


Related Stories

i wasn't ready to say goodbye book cover

Article: Book Shelf: “I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye”

Authors Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D., used their experiences to write a book that can resonate with anyone grieving the loss of a loved one.

stacked stones

Audio: Reading of Klinger, A Story of Honor and Hope

On-air radio personality Mike Rosen reads "Klinger: A Story of Honor and Hope" for his listeners and shares the mission of TAPS.



chat icon

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

calendar icon

Celebrating National Mentoring Month

During this National Mentoring Month, we want to express our gratitude for all of our mentors:

  • TAPS Peer Mentors who take their experience as a military survivor and offer support to those new to grief.
  • Military and Legacy Mentors who companion the youngest members of our family, offering a safe and supportive community.

Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn throughout the month, where we will be sharing resources and articles about mentoring, along with quotes and testimonials from our mentors and mentees.

Webinar: Mindfulness as Your Superpower

On Thursday, January 28 at 12 p.m. Eastern, the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing® will present a free webinar, "Mindfulness as Your Superpower."

Mindfulness isn’t just for naturally calm people. It is a superpower that can help us cope with the most challenging emotions—even grief. Using superhero case examples, during this workshop, you will learn how mindfulness can help you navigate loss, improve your health, and cultivate much-needed compassion for your grieving heart. 

Join TAPS At One of Our 2021 Seminars

Registration is now open for our 2021 Regional Seminars and our National Military Survivor Seminar. In - Person and Virtual Opportunities are available.

TAPS Seminars offer a comprehensive model of care that brings together adult survivors of all ages for a weekend of hope and healing. Whether you recently lost your hero, have lived many years without them or are somewhere in between, TAPS Seminars are designed to meet you where you are in your grief journey. 

Breath of Fresh Air with TAPS Outdoors: Breathing In The New Year

TAPS Outdoors wants to help you reconnect with the natural world in simple yet meaningful ways with weekly activities you can do anywhere. (Yes, we really mean anywhere.) Our goal is to connect you with the healing power of nature no matter where you live and give you the tools to make meaning out of your experiences. 

As many of us have experienced in our grief, a year of great loss and challenge can also give way to new life and hope. Join us in January for Breathing In The New Year, as we transition into a new year and explore the wild, forging new paths together in our hearts and set foot on trails we've yet to see. 

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

calendar icon

We're All In This Together

COVID-19 Support and Resources

At TAPS, we’re no stranger to challenging times, and we’re all doing our part to support one another and get through these difficult times together. As always, TAPS is here 24/7, and our team is working hard to provide resources, services and support to surviving military families as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19. For more information or questions, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page or please email us at

shopping cart icon

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 202-588-8277.