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.


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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.

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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.


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).