Saturday Morning Message: Loved Ones' Items We Keep Close

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

The opening picture came from Elsie, mother of Daniel. It shows the special remembrance quilts she made which you will read about in this week's response section.

Quilt made by Elsie

We received a large response to this week's question, regarding our loved ones' items that we keep nearby. So many, in fact, that we are sharing some in this week's edition of the Saturday Morning Message, but will also be sharing responses in the February Writers' Circle which will be published on February 2, 2021.

The Writers' Circle is a place where survivors who find healing through writing, submit poems, songs and essays that they write including pictures. Supporting photos are always welcome. If you would like to join our Writer's Circle and begin receiving this monthly digital TAPS publication, please email

Thank you for being a part of our Saturday Morning Message community!

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon


Responses from Survivors to last week's question

For some, wearing their loved ones' precious items brings comfort. What items do you keep close to you?



From Elsie, mother of Daniel: My daughter, granddaughter, and I each wear ‘Thumbies’.  We seldom take them off. These are pendants with Daniel’s thumb print taken by the mortuary. When I’m having a hard time, I touch my Thumbie.

For Christmas 2020, I made four queen size quilts out of Daniel’s T-shirts from his various deployments and adventures. I also had photos of Daniel and photos of him and the quilt recipients printed on his white T-shirts.

From Meredith, mother of Austin: My son, Austin, loved bandannas.  He wore one every chance he had. I wear a bandanna for special occasions or on days I’m missing him and need to feel him with me. I also hang one in every car we own. We put them out at his funeral and, now, so many family members and friends now have them in their vehicles, too.

Devin's Hoodie

From Charlene, mother of Devin: I have an old hoodie that Devin had on in a picture when he was in Korea. It is old with the pockets torn, holes in it, and stretched out of shape. On the warmer days where I only need a light jacket, I love to wear it. It doesn’t quite fit but I’m just as proud to wear his tattered jacket as I am proud of my son and his service.

From Cheryl, mother of Daniel: When I need more confidence, courage, and assertiveness, I wear my son’s dog tags. I know it took courage for him to enlist and serve. So on tough days, I wear them out of sight and next to my heart so only I know. I feel close to him, and I feel his support.

Fort Sam Houston Nightshirt

From Katherine, mother of John: I have two items that I wear almost everyday. The first is a nightshirt that I received when our son, John, was in training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, in 1993. It has been all over the world (Moldova, Cuba, Spain, Israel, Korea, Fiji, India, Jordan, and Greece) while he was on short term mission trips

The second is a replica dog tag received at a Gold Star Mother's celebration in Santa Clarita, California. John’s original dog tag is with his stepson, Ryan, in Colorado. It is worn with my father's WWII dog tag from Guadalcanal I. Both were United States Army combat medics.

From Barbara, mother of Brian: My son, Brian, was 6'10" so not many people fit into his clothes, including me; but he had two short sleeve beach shirts that I use as beach cover-ups. I also wear a necklace with a replica of his State Police badge or a name necklace that my daughter gave him. Every day I wear a bracelet that was made honoring his service in the United States Marine Corps and the New Jersey State Police. This keeps Brian close to me at all times.


We Welcome Your Comments

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 

Did your loved one have a favorite food? How did he/she react when you would serve it?

Readers sometimes send me lists of questions to use in the Saturday Morning Message. This week’s question came from two different individuals. I am looking forward to reading your responses.

In order to have your reply considered for the January 23, 2021 edition of the Saturday Morning Message, please send your response by Tuesday morning, January 19, 2021 to


We Welcome Your Questions 

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome and can be sent to


Song for the Week

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Perry, father of Christopher, sent this week’s song which is: “Time in a Bottle sung by Jim Croce. Perry wrote, “When I heard this song after so many years it really spoke to my heart. As a father, you want to recapture those moments you once had. You wish you could save them and make them last forever. In a way our hearts have become that bottle and we do keep them forever remembering the moments that meant so much to us. It is the memories that our loved ones leave us with that make the dash all that much more important.”

Send Your Favorite Song or Recipe

If you have a favorite recipe or song for this section, please send those to me to and include a note about why the recipe or song is meaningful to you. We publish a special song or recipe in each Saturday Morning Message.


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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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The Breath of Fresh Air series, presented by TAPS Outdoors, is for everyone and requires no previous outdoor experience! With bi-weekly videos and Campfire Chats, we'll help you find the right tips, tools and tricks to navigate the wilds of our natural world and the wilds of your grief.

In Season 2: Sowing Seeds, we will utilize the skills we developed over winter to plant seeds of hope for the flourishing summer ahead. Spring is the season of new beginnings, and we look forward to preparing the ground, planting seeds and growing with you in the journey to blooms. The official launch date is Wednesday, March 3.

Free Webinars Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

Gain valuable information and coping strategies through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing. In February, you have two opportunities to participate in free online sessions. 

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

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Our hearts are with our TAPS Families impacted by recent winter weather. You are not alone. You've got this! And we've got you! We are always available to provide compassionate care to our military survivors in any circumstance. We also want to lessen the added stress you may be experiencing due to such emergencies. If you are in need of support, due to a natural disaster, contact our Casework Team at 202-588-TAPS (8277) or via email at for information on available aid and supportive resources as well as read our TAPS Natural Disaster Response article.

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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

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.  

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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.