The picture today comes from the TAPS Magazine archives. Although our loved one's friends don't just include battle buddies, the article "Run and Remember Team: Battle Buddies" shares how some have honored their fallen comrades. Today's replies include many different ways our loved one's friends have helped survivors.
Would you like to share a question or read how other survivors respond to a topic or question you have? I would love to gather some thoughts for future Saturday Morning Messages. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you. It can be helpful to read and hear how others cope. If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who wrote this week, send it to me and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.
In addition to the ideas shared below, we can also honor our loved ones by communicating with each other through writing. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing email@example.com. In order to have your reply included in the week's Saturday Morning Message, it is best to send them to me by Tuesday of the following week. This week's question is located below my signature. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message
We haven't had a question about memories for a long time. This week's question will be: Is there a special place you visited or would have liked to visit with your loved one?It might be a place you have visited before, somewhere you have never been or a place you have avoided since your loss. I look forward to your answers.
♫ Song for the Week
Thais, mother of Dwayne, sent this week's song. Thais wrote, "I'd like to dedicate a song, 'Some Gave All' by Billy Ray Cyrus, not only to my son, Dwayne, but also to everyone who has a loss of a family member AND the family members themselves. They, as well, gave all."
Answers from Survivors
Caryn, mother of Nathanand spouse of Micheal: Having my son's friends continue to stay in touch with me has definitely helped my healing process. Hearing stories and receiving photos from his military friends was exciting because that was new information. And his friends at home maintain contact with me. It's always nice knowing your child had good friends who cared.
Donna, mother of Eric: I stay in touch with all of his friends from elementary school, high school and the military. Our house was the fun house with a pool, hot tub, volleyball and game room. We got to know all of his school friends well. We get to be grammy and poppy to lots of their kids. Each year on Eric's birthday, we go bowling. You'd think over time the number of friends attending would dwindle. Quite the opposite, the number grows every year. I think the more friends that come, the more friends see that is OK to celebrate his beautiful life. It's heartwarming to see what terrific friends he had who have stayed so loyal.
We are friends with his fellow Marines on Facebook and keep up with them as well. Many have come to visit. Two came to live here and many send flowers for Mother's Day. I know quite a bit about each friend, so whatever troubles one is having I know which friend to call on to help them.
Losing our only child left me feeling like I wasn't a mother anymore. But these friends let me mother them. They discuss hopes and dreams and problems with me, and they let me help guide them in the right direction - just like a mom. I couldn't make it without all of them. I'm much better focusing on getting one of them through an issue than sitting and wallowing in my sorrow, and as many "children" as I have now, there's always one going through something. I'm useful again! Eric loved all of his friends and they loved him, therefore we love them.
Bonnie, mother of Andrew: Thinking about last week's question, I have a suggestion from my heart. It is so hard to lose a loved one, as you all know. Keeping others in your life is important, for sure, but keeping some distance is also important. When you feel it is pertinent to keep up the communication, well, you should do it and might benefit from it. But sometimes it is counterproductive and needs to be addressed. I found that out the hard way but learned from my trusted sources, my son's team of Army Green Berets who call me the "momma of the knuckleheads." I love them, and they are always there for me.
Let me just say that selecting your trusted sources is the best way to ensure that you have the best care for yourself. It is hard enough to go through grief and loneliness alone, but having caring support in your life is critical.
Be careful in choosing the ones you trust. All of us have to go through tough times as we handle the challenges of life after the death of a loved one. Picking and choosing the folks we associate with are important, and do not forget that we all have TAPS to also get in touch with to get us on the right path.
From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Yes, I stay connected to some of my son's friends. I thought I knew my child until I talked to his friends.They know him differently, so I learned more about my child and what kind of man he became. I must say that I was lucky. My son, who was not the greatest teen, became quite the man. I wouldn't know as much without his friends, who are terrific men and women.
Anne, mother of Michael: I love staying in contact with some of my son's friends. They are a part of Michael and loved him so much. I love keeping the memory of Michael alive through our family, his family and his friends. So many people don't even want to talk about someone they loved who died, but I always love to talk about my son and now my husband because they were here on earth, they did exist and I do not ever want them to be forgotten! I feel blessed to have had such fine men in my life that reflected honor, love and courage!
From Diane, mother of Caleb: I do stay connected with Caleb's friends. I love when I get to see them or talk to them. I think it's healing for both of us. I connect to a part of Caleb's life. When they talk to me, they are connecting with Caleb as well. We have a heart connection that no one else has. The Marine brothers can tell me stories about training, deployments, and adventures and time spent with Caleb. They give me insight to the life my son loved. When I run into a classmate, or someone who knew Caleb growing up, I encourage conversation about my son. Hearing about him is life to me. Hearing from those who love him is so special - we have a heart connection because of the love we share.
Upcoming Video and Text Chats
Date: Monday, February 13, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern
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Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017
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The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer based connection, survivors helping survivors, for support and encouragement along the grief journey. 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 SMM is edited for spacing considerations and grammatical corrections.
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 at1-800-959-8277.