Saturday Morning Message: "Listen.Learn.Love."

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

We are grateful that you connect with us each week and that the Saturday Morning Message has been a source of hope and comfort to you along your grief journey. At TAPS, we welcome and support all those grieving the loss of a military loved one, no matter how they died. This includes thousands of survivors of military suicide loss to whom we offer hope, healing, and renewed opportunities for personal growth. 

September is Suicide Prevention Month and TAPS will be focusing a lot of our messaging around this important campaign. Our theme for September is “Listen.Learn.Love.” and, no matter how your loved one died, these three words can have a powerful impact on your grief journey or that of a peer.

listen, learn, love

This week, survivors share with us how they have put these three concepts into action since the death of their loved one and how these simple acts have led to hope and healing.  

Hugs,
Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

As survivors, how have you put the concepts of "Listen.Learn.Love." into action, either in your own grief journey or in support of another survivor to bring hope and healing? 

From Robin, mother of Steven:I remember finally having enough courage to go to my local TAPS gathering. I was sure I would be the only one there who lost my loved one to suicide. I was wrong. We were the majority. Hearing the stories of what others had been through helped me see I wasn’t alone. There were many tears and many more hugs. And love. So much love. 

From Merry, mother of Wesley: I think listening would remain high on my list if I were getting together with someone who lost a loved one. It would not be the only approach as I would respond to what they were saying as well.  

From Laura, spouse of Greg:  I believe that being understanding and non-judgmental is important to responding to another's loss. I also believe, as a true friend, we should always reach out in kindness and check on one another from time to time. We all deal with and grieve our losses differently. This is important to understand. Sometimes, it's important to take a step back and give space if you are unsure what to offer someone. However, the best advice is to always remain as kind as possible. 

From Lesia, mother of Christopher: As far as what I would offer another person who lost a loved one, I would genuinely look into their eyes, hold their hands, compassionately say how sorry I am and bless their strength for acknowledging their loved one and their own grief and sorrow. All too often, in my case, people stood as far away as possible from me (as if I were contagious). They felt uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to end the conversation and step away. For a grieving person, having their hand held or a tight long-lasting and meaningful hug could mean the world to a person with an empty and broken heart.  

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 online@taps.org and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

Labor Day starts the fall/winter holiday season. The holidays can be a stressful time for those who are grieving, especially this year with the pandemic. Sometimes, it is good to make a plan before the upcoming events, so the question this week is: What traditions do you plan to keep or what new ones would you like to create for the upcoming holiday season? This will be helpful to others, especially new survivors who are going through their first holiday season without their loved one. We look forward to your thoughts. 

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 online@taps.org 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

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This week’s song, "Open Hands", sung by Matt Papa, is from Cheryl, mother of Jack whose daughters sent this to her as one of the songs to help her grieving heart. We would love to hear which songs are currently inspiring you or have helped comfort you along your grief journey. 

When you submit a song and it appears in this section, a survivor, Andy, father of Danny, will add it to a free playlist on Spotify for our community to access. This list contains the songs that have appeared in past Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. The playlist is called TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) Songs of Love and Remembrance.

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at online@taps.org and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.


Related Stories

Survivors

Reaching Out To Others

Each time we reach out across our own pain to find another hand searching in the darkness, we begin to lighten our own darkness.

survivors in circel with hands up

Video: Building your Circle of Support after a Loss

This webinar video recording discusses how to help you get the most out of relationships that can comfort and uplift you during your grief journey.


UPCOMING VIDEO AND TEXT CHATS
 

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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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Join Us for the Next Virtual Seminar

Please join us for our September Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, September 18 and 19. This two-day event will begin on Friday evening with Sharing Groups and conclude with a session on meditative movement. Activities begin at 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and will be presented at no cost to you. Our sessions will be led by experts in the field of grief and loss, offering opportunities for you to gain tools and resources. 

#ListenLearnLove 

The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Peer Mentor Training 

Looking for a chance to give back? You've been through the early days of grief and remember how connecting to TAPS was helpful to you. You remember when another reached out a hand to you to share the journey. Now you may be ready to help someone else. TAPS Peer Mentors are survivors who are 18 months beyond their loss and feel ready to be a companion to another. You may even find that opening your heart to another will offer you continued healing as well. Become a TAPS Peer Mentor.

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

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Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts.

If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email illnessloss@taps.org

Those who take the survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback. 
 

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AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit smile.amazon.com, 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 online@taps.org.

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.