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Cry To the End of Your Tears
Cry to the End of Your Tears

~ Emily Muñoz, Survivor

February 21, 2017

Let's face it — crying can be uncomfortable. Not only is it hard to see others cry (and don't worry, at TAPS, you'll never cry alone), it's hard to put your emotions out there for others to see. Early in my grief, I remember crying in grocery stores, in line at the post office, in church. I cried in the shower. I cried every time I drove. And, most of the time, I chose not to care. Because I wasn't done  — I was not finished crying.

We can't always let ourselves grieve openly and tearfully, but when we can, it's worth it  — it's important to cry to the end of your tears. When you do, you'll know two things.

First, you'll know that you're finished with this round of tears. You'll help yourself understand that, even though it often feels as though you'll cry forever, there is an end. There is a unique reassurance that comes from emptying yourself completely and knowing that, for that moment, you have allowed yourself to grieve as much as you needed — and that there is a stopping place.

Second, something happens in the moments after a really good cry. Having released all that you are holding in, you've also made room for something new. I've never reached the true end of a good cry and not found a special peace — one that I can't explain or understand. It's as though crying to the end of our tears awakens us to the enormity of our unburdening. The pain is still there, but it feels different. There's a sacred calm — moments where the spiritual and emotional wrestling is over.

We will always miss our loved ones, and it may be that you can't imagine a world where you're finished crying. But there is something waiting for you at the end of every round of tears — of that I am certain.

From the pen of…

Emily Muñoz is the Director of TAPS Health and Wellness Initiatives and the surviving spouse of Army Capt. Gil Muñoz. Emily is living a personal campaign to be the person her late husband loved - and is using the Inner Warrior program to empower survivors to do the same.

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Snowflake
Saturday Morning Message: Special Places

February 18, 2017

Good Morning,

For those of us in the north, snowflakes are a big part of the winter season. When it snows, like it did last weekend, snowflakes change ordinary places with their unusual beauty. The special place I remember is the hill by our house. When my son, Bryon, was young, he loved to sled down the hill with his sister and friends, laughing all the way. It was a joy to see the children playing in the snow. When they came in, we would have hot chocolate and talk about these good times. It brings warmth to my heart just thinking about them. Thanks to the survivors who sent in those special places they remember this week. I know you will enjoy their perspectives.

This must be the week for unique things. We also have a very creative song of the week. Bonnie, mother of Andrew, sent the song. She wrote the lyrics and music, and she also sings it. I hope you click on the link to hear this tribute to her son.

You are an important component of the Saturday Morning Message. There is always a need for songs you find meaningful. It might be helpful to hear how others cope with grief, so please send in any questions or topics you may have. The only thing I ask is that the questions be applicable to all survivors and not just one group. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. If you find something a survivor has written that touches you, please send your comments to me and I will make sure they get passed on. Sometimes a kind thought is just the thing to bring light to the day of a fellow survivor. Send any thoughts you have to online@taps.org

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

This week's question comes from the TAPS General Support Chat held each Tuesday for all survivors. We were talking about the difficulty survivors have when they wake during the night and can't get back to sleep. After sharing some ideas, we thought it would be a good question to use for the Saturday Morning Message. The question is: When grief awakens you during the night, what do you do to relax and go back to sleep? This is particularly important for those survivors who have to go back to work soon after the death.  

 Song for the Week 

Here is the song Bonnie, mother of Andrew, sent. It is titled, "American Soldier." I thought you would also like to see the lyrics, which are printed below. 

"American Soldier"

By Bonnie Jo

© 2004 

Chorus:

Live on, love on American dreamer
How did you learn that life should be this way?
Bring on, sing on, your precious stories
Five years old but so much to say 

Verse 1:

And in your innocence I found a new way
And when I tucked you in my heart always prayed
That with some patience we could build a new world
One of freedom with ALL flags unfurled 

Chorus:

Live on, love on American soldier
How did you learn that life should be this way?
Bring on, sing on, your untold stories
My love and prayers go with you today 

Verse 2:

For as you grew I stood by your side
And in my heart there has always been pride
You need to know that you have been my delight
May God keep you in the core of his light

Chorus:

Live on, love on American soldier
How did you learn that life should be this way?
Bring on, sing on, your untold stories
My love and prayers go with you today 

Verse 3:

And as you go on to defend all our right
I send you out into the night
You have shown me the beauty inside
An American soldier in my eyes 

Chorus final:

Live on, love on American soldier
When did you learn that life should be this way
Bring on, sing on, your untold stories
Do you know how you have changed our lives today?
And may God keep you in the core of his light!  

Answers from Survivors 

From Robert, father of Louis: Before deploying, Louis asked if we would go with him and his family to SeaWorld and Universal Studios. The year after he was killed, the whole family (about 16 of us) went.

As with all things of this nature, it was a bittersweet experience, but we felt that we had to honor one of his last requests. We had a lot of fun during the day, but the nights were difficult thinking about who was missing.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Five days before Wes died by his own hand, we had dinner together at my house. We discussed plans to travel to Scotland together in order to research our ancestral genealogy. I was very excited to do this with him, and he was excited to go with me.

Scotland is not on my bucket list right now - maybe someday in the future. It would be too much of a reminder that these were our last plans, and the loss would be magnified if I went there alone.

From Kathy, mother of Charles: My son and I loved to fish. We had a place on the Little Susitna River where we spent a lot of time catching silver salmon. I haven't been there in years but would like to go back. So many wonderful memories are there; I hope to go back one day.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: For a few years, Eugene was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base. I hadn't seen him for some time and was anxious to spend his birthday and Christmas/Chanukah with him. Thankfully, he was able to get a week off, and we spent the week in Keystone. It was magical and wonderful - such a terrific mom/son vacation. But I can't go back. I want that week of memories kept just the way they are. I don't want to see the base or the ski resort without him. 

Upcoming Video and Text Chats                                                                                                                

General Support Chat  
Date: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs  

Survivors of Illness Loss Chat  
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Kim Suggs  

Men's Only Video Chat  
Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 10 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Don Lipstein  

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.  

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Valentine's Day
5 Ideas to Make it Through Valentine's Day Without Your Love

~ August Cabrera, Survivor

February 14, 2017

For many of us who have lost a sweetheart - a husband, wife, fiancé, significant other - Valentine's Day and all the related hoopla can be very hard to deal with. Here are five tips that may help keep your head and heart pieced together on what can be a tough day.

1. Be kind. If that means buying yourself flowers, then do it. If that means an entire box of chocolates is what you need to spend the evening with, go for it. And if that means what you really need to do is let yourself have a good cry, embrace it. This is a rough day for a lot of us, and you don't need to do anything that doesn't work for you today.

2. Be honest. Maybe this was a big day for you two. If that's the case, share the truth about how this is affecting you with your support system. Or maybe you and your sweetheart weren't big Valentine's Day people. That's fine too. Don't let the greeting card industry and flower delivery services guilt you into giving the 14th of February the ability to break your heart. That's been done enough already. Either way, be honest with yourself and those around you about how this day is impacting you.

3. Be patient. If your heart wants company, seek out friends and family who can provide you that support. (Your TAPS family is always a good place to start that search.) If what you really want is solitude, don't hesitate to let those around you know exactly that. We each need something different, and we are the only ones who know what we really need. And remember that what worked last time might not work this time. Don't discount your own truth; be patient with yourself as you discover what works for you today. 

4. Be open. Our sweethearts loved us and sometimes we are reminded of their love in unexpected ways. A penny facing heads up outside our car door. The perfect song at the perfect time on the radio. The clock turning 11:11 just as you look at it. There are as many hellos as there are lost loves. Maybe today you'll be surprised by what you see if you keep your eyes open.

5. Be grateful. For some time - maybe months, maybe decades - you shared love with your sweetheart that didn't need a big red bow around it to make it real and special. Do your best to take a moment or two and remember a special time, maybe even a special kiss, and let yourself sink into those memories. You don't need to dwell there for long, but try and recall the details of that specific snapshot in time. Let your heart be filled with the memory of your sweetheart. And be grateful you have that memory to hold onto. 

 

From the pen of...

August, the surviving spouse of Lt. Col. David Cabrera, lives outside of D.C. with her two boys, her fiancé, and her dog. She is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction and is enjoying the challenge and adventure of finally following her dream of being a writer when she grows up.

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Run and Remember Battle Buddies - 2
Saturday Morning Message: Support from Loved One's Friends

February 11, 2017

Good Morning,

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 online@taps.org. 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. 

Hugs,
Carol 

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                                                                                                               

Parent Chat  
Date: Monday, February 13, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carol Lane, Ron and Mary Johnson  

General Support Chat  
Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs  

West Coast Online Care Group  
Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 
Time: 11 PM - 12 AM Eastern, 8 PM Pacific 
Hosted By: Kellie Hazlett and Peer Mentor  

Survivors of Suicide Loss Video Chat  
Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carla Stumpf-Patton and Kim Suggs  

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.  

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StephanieWebb
Good Grief Camp Mentor Makes Her Mark

~ Air Force Capt. Stephanie Webb, Good Grief Camp Mentor

February 7, 2017

I've been volunteering with TAPS for about five years, and I just keep coming back! I love all my mentees and could share memories about every one of them.

One of my favorite memories involves my mentee "Kitty." I met Kitty at the TAPS Denver Good Grief Camp back in March 2015; she and I clicked almost immediately. We ran around, hula-hooped, shared secrets, created Play-Doh snakes, sang with Anna and Elsa and danced the night away. Often times, I'd give her piggyback rides and then she'd run away and try to sneak up on me. It was such a fun time!

I thought she'd forget me after our short weekend together, but while I was in D.C. for the TAPS National Good Grief Camp just a couple months later, there was Kitty. She tried to sneak up on me to no avail and said, "Stephanie! I'm so happy to see you!" and in that moment, I felt like I had made a mark on her life and that I mattered enough to be snuck up on (again). It's little moments like this that make the experience of being a TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentor worth it.

So when I think of what being a TAPS Good Grief Camp Mentor means to me, a myriad of thoughts and words come to mind; incredible, heartwarming, fulfilling and, of course, life changing. There's something about being around these kids that just changes so much about your outlook on life. Bad days, thoughts of failure, the stress of coping with loss - it all goes away when I see these kids and the strength they have. Their resilience, whether they're aware of it or not, is indescribable. I always look forward to spending time with these kids at the next event. They change my life every time.

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Carol and Darcy
Saturday Morning Message: Peer Mentor Reflections

February 4, 2017

Good Morning,

The TAPS Peer Mentor program is a gift for both the mentors and the survivors who become connected. At the beginning of my grief journey, TAPS was smaller and there were many who reached out to act as mentors when I called. The picture today is of my good friend, Darcie D. Sims, Ph.D., CHT, CT, GMS, and me at a TAPS National Seminar, where she spoke to everyone who was there. After her talk, we connected and I chose her as my mentor - even if she wasn't aware that I saw her in that role. She lit up my world when I thought the light had permanently gone out and was the first one to make me smile after the death of my son, Bryon. She was a special person who uplifted me, as well as many others, when I felt down and gave us all courage to continue. 

As I progressed, I took the peer mentor training and became that special someone to a new survivor. As I gained more mentees, the Saturday Morning Message was born. I was working full time then and wanted to stay in touch with everyone on a weekly basis, so sharing through email was the best solution. Perhaps someday, I will post an early version of the message, so you can see the change. As the message evolved, we added a question and then a song each week. 

One of our contributors, Andy, father of Danny, makes a playlist on Spotify of the songs that appear in the Saturday Morning Messages along with a few other songs special to him. Andy tells me that it is now seven hours long now, and hopefully it can help make you feel more connected to the TAPS family when we are far apart geographically. I often listen to it while I am on the computer and think of those who have shared their favorite songs with us. I am so very thankful to Andy for making this list. The playlist is free and called "Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Songs of Love and Remembrance." Let me know if you have trouble accessing the playlist 

Then, last year at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar over Memorial Day weekend, I met my current mentee and her husband for coffee in one of the great shops near the hotel where the seminar is held. She wasn't able to attend the seminar but had the time to meet. It was the first time we had seen each other in person. I can't describe the feelings I had when I saw her walking toward me. We hugged and just took the time to get to talk, laugh and enjoy each other's company. At that point, I knew that even out of tragedy, we can make the most incredible connections. 

Sandra, mother of Adam, shared a wonderful quote from an unknown author: "Grief is love with no place to go." Although it will never take the place of your loved one, one way to share that love is to experience the connection between a TAPS peer mentor and a mentee. 

Read more about requesting a peer mentor or becoming one on the TAPS website.   

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at online@taps.org. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have. 

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

Caryn, mother of Nathanand spouse of Micheal,   sent this question: Do you stay connected to your loved one's friends? How does that affect your healing?

 Song for the Week 

Kathlene, mother of Peter, wrote, "My son died at age 38 in 2013, months before his birthday. Two years later on Oct. 17, 2015, I was awakened by the second hand of the bedroom wall clock being stuck on 6:41 a.m. When I kept hearing that sound I opened my eyes, looked at the time, and it struck me as odd because the battery was still good and there was no reason it should have gotten stuck at the minute of Peter's birth 41 years earlier. To me that was a God wink for sure. Also, the song "El Condor Pasa" by Simon and Garfunkel was playing, which is a favorite when thinking of my Peter. 

Answers from Survivors 

From Bonnie, mother of Andrew: I think having a peer mentor is terrific and being one for someone else is even more important. I have been a recipient of TAPS services and support for over seven years but never really had a mentor with whom to speak. I just often got overwhelmed with grief and called the TAPS helpline. There is nothing wrong with that, and I always got a great person on the other end of the line to talk and listen to me and share their own story. I love this organization so much, and that is why I am planning to do my best in whatever way I can to give back.

From Diane, mother of Caleb: TAPS has been such a lifeline for me on this journey. A very nice lady called me early on and became my mentor for a time. She was wonderful. She moved on, and I was sent another peer mentor who has been very wonderful as well. It's like my peer mentors were sent right from heaven. These have been the sweetest, most gracious ladies. We can share, laugh and cry. The bond is so meaningful and precious. TAPS has been such a blessing to me in so many ways. I am crying right now. I actually just got off the phone with my peer mentor. She is so great. Thank you, TAPS.

From Nikki, sister of Chad: When I first lost my brother, I didn't have a peer mentor. It was my younger brother and I navigating the grief waters alone. We not only lost our brother, but we lost our parents. They went MIA on us. They didn't see how we were doing or anything. When I was older and in a place where I was ready to share my journey with others, I reached out to TAPS to become a peer mentor. I didn't want anyone to go through such a loss alone. I want to be able to be there for someone. I want to be what I could have used so very early on.

Since becoming a peer mentor, I have someone I am mentoring and I also have my own mentor. Both are fantastic ladies. TAPS did a great job pairing us together. 

Upcoming Video and Text Chats

General Support Chat 
Date: Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs

Honoring the Memory and New Relationship Video Chat 
Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Kellie Hazlett and Peer Mentor

Widow-Widower Chat 
Date: Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Kim Suggs

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 at 1-800-959-8277 .

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Susan's Horses
Saturday Morning Message: Pet Support for Survivors

January 28, 2017

Good Morning,

This week survivors sent their heartwarming responses about how pets have helped them on their individual grief journeys. Many sent pictures of their house pets, so I thought you might find it interesting to see a picture of outside pets sent by Susan, spouse of Charles, at the beginning of today's message. I will keep my remarks short this week as there were so many inspiring stories for you to read that I want to let you go to them quickly. 

There are two events that I would like to highlight this week: 

The first is a special promotion to read a free book titled "Griefwriting" by Joan Zlotnick. It is a novel based on a recently widowed woman. When you click on the link, it will take you to Amazon where  you can get the book. 

The second is that registration is open for the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp on May 25 through May 29. This is an amazing opportunity to meet with other survivors and TAPS staff over Memorial Day weekend. There are workshops, sharing groups and other activities. If you have questions, there is a helpful page on the TAPS website called "Frequently Asked Questions." 

Questions are the backbone of the Saturday Morning Message. In order to keep the Saturday Morning Message fresh, I am looking for more questions. If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at online@taps.org. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your replies, questions or any ideas you may have. 

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

The peer mentor program at TAPS is very special. Being paired with someone who has had a similar experience as you can be comforting as you learn you are not alone. You have someone who understands your loss who contacts you or who you can contact to share your feelings as you travel on this journey of grief. If you are a peer mentor, it can be very rewarding to reach out to support another survivor. The question this week is:What has been your experience either being a peer mentor or having a peer mentor from TAPS? Your responses may help another survivor to become or ask for a peer mentor. 

♫ Song for the Week 

From Adra, mother of Kyle: When Kyle was just in elementary school, he fell in love with a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, a painting called "Starry Night." I recently came across a song by Don McLean called "Starry, Starry Night" and cried my way to work thinking of how Kyle would have related to the song. 

Answers from Survivors 

Annette's Dog PebblesFrom Annette, mother of Joseph: I got Pebbles on an impulse, and it is one of the best decisions I have made in a long time -  no regrets. Someone gave me a book on training dogs written by a monk. There is a community of monks in upstate New York that train German shepherds. Although I certainly did not adhere to all of their techniques, I did use some and it really paid off. She is so good; I even taught her to ring a bell when she has to go out. It is such an easy thing to do, but if you do not know about it you would think it was impossible. I wish I knew the name of the book, but I passed it on and I do not remember who I gave it to.

Rebecca's Dog AlexaFrom Rebecca, mother of Griff: Axela (my son Griff's gift from Heaven to me) is the reason that I am still on earth. She barks at me when she wants me to come outside with her and keeps it up. It's like she's chewing me out for not going outside. Axela gives unconditional love. Axela goes inside with me to Tuesday Morning, McKays Used Books, JE Rice Hardware Store, Merchants Tire, SunTrust Bank, even my attorneys' office, and of course her Pet Valu. Axela loves people - she's great with everyone, just like Griff is with all people. I am able to go to see family friends because Axela is always with me. She even helps me drive by sitting on my lap while I'm driving. I hold her with one arm and feel calmer. She feels my feelings that are inside me. Axela makes this house a home. I am her well-trained human.

Joann's PoodlesFrom Jo Ann, mother of Jonathon: These three are my furry best friends: Luci (white poodle), Heidi (German shepherd) and Cali Girl (golden retriever). Luci and Heidi were with me when I received the knock on the door Sept. 22, 2013. Luci wouldn't leave my side, and Heidi wouldn't let Navy Casualty assist me. The officers couldn't get any closer to me as Heidi could sense these two gentlemen were upsetting me. With Heidi and Luci's constant love and always staying close by my side I made it through three tough years of struggling with the loss of my son, Jon. Cali Girl aka California Girl was given to me this past August by Jon's widow and children. Cali Girl is a snuggler and brings me great peace and love. I know Jon is smiling down from Heaven knowing how much joy she has brought into his mom's life.  

From Christine, mother of Adam: I serve as an AmeriCorps member at a children's center. One of the cooks lost her son in a car accident when a friend was driving who was intoxicated. Debbie has a therapy dog who wears a harness with the letters PTSD on it. This is so she can take him anywhere. The mention of pets reminded me of my son's desire to have a dog. He had three different rabbits as pets. I see rabbits often as signs, but I regret not getting him a dog - a decision his stepfather and I could not make based on many factors. Would all of those factors have really been that big of a deal?

Susan's DogsFrom Susan, spouse of Charles: Given that pets cannot speak, they watch us so carefully for cues. And given this special talent that they have for reading even our unspoken emotions (think therapy dogs for PTSD) I think we can take comfort in them as God's gift for many reasons, not the least is to help us heal.

Mine are little rescues with the 5-pound blonde girl, "Daisy," being particularly sensitive. She came from another widow who was too ill to care for her anymore. She looks at me with eyes so wide, trying to absorb everything. It's comforting to be able to carry her around and talk with her.

Funnily enough, my big best friend used to be a thoroughbred horse. In my horse racing years, my favorite race horse's name was, "Too Far Gone," but he wasn't. His nickname was "Toofie" because he ran with his mouth open, looking like he was smiling, He loved me unconditionally. I was his person. I left to live on the West Coast for four months, and upon return, went out to the barn and walked to the big field where he was grazing, 40 acres away. I called his name. He came running to me and did his usual habit of wrapping his long neck around mine in a horse hug. I asked the farmhand who walked out with me if he did this to anyone else. The farmhand said, "No, with everyone else, he just acts like a horse."

One day, going to the post, I dropped my stick and as I looked down at it, in my short stirrups, I fell off. Toofie kept trotting to the start without me. I called his name and his head came up, startled, and he turned and trotted back to me so I could mount him again. We won. Again.

I could tell this horse anything. He was my cross between a stuffed animal and a rocking chair. I used to say, "I don't need a psychiatrist because I have a horse."

I believe with all my broken heart that they are here to help us in any way they can, including helping us heal.

From Linda, mother of Eric: I lost my only child, Eric, and desperately needed something to take care of or something that needed me. My first little puppy looked as helpless as I felt. We needed each other. I then got a second dog because I felt like I was not giving my first dog enough attention as I was "stuck" in the bed most of the day. They needed me to walk, feed, and play with them. I had a purpose for just waking up in the mornings. They became brothers, and I felt like a mother of two for the first time. My furbabies saved my life. They gave me unconditional love whether I was crying my eyes out or just surviving each moment without my son. 

Tabitha's dog Schotzie From Tabitha, spouse of Michael: When my husband and I were dating, he had a cocker spaniel named Schotzie.This dog was older and had a bit of attitude. One of the things my husband noted right away was how close Schotzie and I got. We both usually fell asleep on the couch while my husband played Rock Band. When we married, Schotzie became our joint child. When my husband passed, Schotzie reminded me of my husband every day. As long as I had him, I had a part of my husband. Schotzie also took up lots of my husband's tasks. Schotzie told me when it was late and I needed to go to bed. He watched over me by guarding the doorway to wherever I sat. When he passed, it was like I lost my husband all over again. It was like I lost one of our kids. It was like I lost one of the last pieces of my husband. Schotzie was that integral to my life. 

Tabitha's dog AlexAlex is another story. When we initially got married, we were at two different bases; we lived about 16 hours apart. I missed my husband and the kids, so he suggested I get a small dog. Thus, Alex came into the picture (a small terrier). Alex ended up being mostly my dog because it was just the two of us. When my husband and the kids moved in, there were a lot of growing pains because, being a terrier, Alex was quite possessive of me. When my husband passed, Alex helped tremendously. Whenever I cried, Alex ran over to force me to nuzzle him. He would usually flop on his back as well. He seemed to be saying, "Pet me and you'll feel better" or "I'm here, don't cry." He was very in tune with my emotions. Now, that it is just myself and Alex again, I feel a lot of his attitude assists me with getting out of my bogs of depression. I have to get up because someone needs to feed the dog. I have to get up because Alex never lets anyone sleep in more than eight hours. I have to stay active because otherwise Alex torments me to throw the ball all day. I have to go to bed at a decent time or Alex complains about having to stay up. It's odd how the smallest things can have the deepest connections. But I feel both dogs have helped me, in their own ways, in dealing with my grief. From assuming my husband's responsibilities to ensuring I stay active to comforting me when the world seems too much.

From Diane, mother of Caleb: Griz was Caleb's dog. That I have his dog is a great comfort. Griz is a constant companion. I don't have to worry about him saying the wrong thing or being rude and saying, "Get over it!" I don't have to explain to Griz why I'm crying - again. He seems to understand and sits next to me, wanting to lick the tears from my face. If I'm having a bad day, Griz doesn't try to guilt me into pretending like it's a better day than it is. He goes along with me and is a steady support by just being there. If I can't sleep, he wakes up, too, and follows me into another room while I pray or cry or just sit. He sits and waits ever so patiently. Sometimes, sleeping on Caleb's bed is therapeutic for me. Griz can sleep on that bed. He lies next to me, doesn't move and helps me not feel so alone. When I'm sitting down, sometimes he will come up and put his paw on my leg, as if to say, "It's OK. I'm here." This precious gift is the best buddy I could have asked for since Caleb's been gone. I'm so thankful, and I understand why a dog is man's best friend. This dog is this Gold Star mom's best friend - always beside me, always faithful, making me smile through the tears.

Upcoming Video and Text Chats  

General Support Chat 
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs

Survivors of Suicide Loss Chat 
Date: Thursday, February 02, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Carla Stumpf-Patton and Kim Suggs

Midwest Online Care Group 
Date: Thursday, February 02, 2017
Time: 8 PM - 9:30 PM Eastern, 7 PM Central
Hosted By: Kellie Hazlett and Andy Weiss

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.

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Lamie, Warriors Walk
Saturday Morning Message: Healing While Remembering Our Loved Ones

January 21, 2017

Good Morning,

It is winter in the part of the country where I live. For many, it is a time of contemplation about what we have accomplished in the past year and where we are going. This week, survivors have replied to the question about how we keep our loved ones close to us while we move on with our lives. One person who responded, Linda, mother of Gene, sent pictures along with her reply, which you will read later.

While looking for articles in the TAPS Magazine archives, I found one called "Tending the Garden of Grief With Mindfulness Meditation" by Heather Stang. In it, Heather equates thinking about your grief journey with a farmer coming to the end of the season and reflecting on the fruits of the harvest. She gives examples of how to use meditation for looking at what you have accomplished and planning on how you would like to move forward. Those who responded this week have written about what they have done. I hope you are inspired by what you read. If you would like to comment on any of the responses, send an email to me at online@taps.org and I will make sure the author receives your message.

One way we can honor our loved ones is 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 question of the week by emailing online@taps.org. 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.

Hugs,
Carol

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message

In the past few weeks, there have been many comments about animals, especially pets helping support the grieving. I am looking forward to including some of these responses and adding your thoughts on the question: How have your pets comforted you as you grieve?

♫ Song for the Week

Debbie, mother of Cale, sent the song this week, which is "Only Time" by Enya. The beautiful and haunting voice of Enya asks who knows about the future and the answer is "only time." It is a song that will be a relaxing addition to a time when you choose to reflect.

Answers from Survivors

Lamie, Warriors Walk 2From Linda, mother of Gene: How I move forward and keep my son's memory alive is by spending time at the Warriors Walk at Fort Stewart in Georgia. This was the last base where my son was stationed before he deployed the second and last time. The Warriors Walk is a path of 468 trees planted in honor of the fallen heroes of Fort Stewart. It is, by the way, the only living memorial in America. Each year since 2009 my husband, myself and volunteers decorate every tree the Friday before Wreaths Across America on Saturday. We spend time at each tree and honor each hero. Then in January we go back to Warriors Walk and take down the decorations, save the good ones, discard any damaged ones and store them for next year. Before Gene deployed for his final tour I said to him, "Please be safe." He looked right in my eyes and told me, "Mom, it does not matter if I make it home; it matters if the men under me make it home." So I feel I am taking care of his men because he can't. When I am there, I truly feel the spirits of these great men and women. I keep Gene's memory alive by doing my best to finish his job.  

From James, father of Andrew: I don't know if I'll ever "feel better" after this, and I don't necessarily expect to. I think a lot of us understand that. To me, it's similar to talking about when I'll "get over it." I won't - there aren't rules to this, and it's not required to "get over it," even though many others might expect that. As we realize, you get over a cold, you get over scraped knees, but you don't get over this. But it also doesn't mean that I'm eternally sad, or down or unhappy. I'm now able to be OK with feeling more normal feelings, not just heartache, and many are good and happy feelings - laughing, being satisfied, being glad, enjoying things.

But, with that, do I feel like I'm letting go or forgetting our son? No.That had been part of my deep concerns after our son, Andy, passed away this past year. How long before I don't think about him? And how can I even believe that I might not think about him? But, as always, we eventually grow and learn. I hold him deeper in my heart now, likely since that's the only physical way that I ever can hold him.

Also, Andy doesn't allow me to forget him - I'm glad for that! I've always talked about paying attention to things, and it frustrated Andy to no end when people didn't pay attention to the obvious. I hope "signs" are there for you; they are for me. And I hope I pay enough attention to them that I don't frustrate Andy too much. Sometimes he even provides the answer to my question before I ask it. I ask the question, hope that sometime I might get an answer, then realize that I was already given the answer.

In that light, as I ramble on here, I guess I need to realize that my answer was already there before I started answering this question! And it's much simpler than all that I already wrote. I don't feel like I'm letting go or forgetting Andy when I'm feeling better because a big part of my "feeling better" now is knowing that Andy is still here. But I need to make sure that I pay attention. He keeps showing me that often the answer comes before the question.

From Cheryl, mother of Jack: This past Christmas as we gathered as a family, I felt peaceful. I went through the feelings of not missing Jack and I did experience some guilt - or maybe a feeling of "neglecting my child." I also felt, all at the same time, that it was OK. This was all a new feeling for me seven years from his death. I don't know all the previous adjustments I made or all that I will make with these new feelings inside me.

In the months before Christmas, I went through a lot of changes. I have been focusing on what I need to do to heal. I have been going to a counselor, and I have no intention of thinking about stopping at this point. I was laid off my job, but instead of getting a job, I am keeping focus. I think I was working to avoid "going there," if you know what I mean. I let myself feel sad. I cry if something occurs (usually daily) that brings a tear to my eye, like a picture I see, something on a show, something I read. You name it and there is usually something that brings a memory of Jack. It's OK to cry; it's OK to laugh; it's OK to feel like your world has just cracked wide open because your child died and you go through Christmas without them - that special day, that day you had where you felt like your family would be all together.

I am going to go to my grandson's graduation from Navy basic training in February. Do you think that we won't miss Jack? That hole will always be there. That taste of sadness. We will probably shed a tear not only for the moment, but for the absence. Do you know how happy and proud Jack would be to see his nephew DJ that day?!

Yes, we go on and celebrate things like Christmas, graduations, etc. and feel the ache inside and know that it is OK.

Not good, not bad, but it is OK.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: "Feeling better" is all a part of a process my loved one would want me to experience. That thought has taken three years to embrace, but I think Wes would really want me to have a good life while remembering and honoring him. As mothers, we can never forget anything about our children. That's part of being a mom.

I had a good time visiting my son and daughter-in-law in California the first part of this month. On the last evening, we watched a three-hour documentary about the Eagles. I've been dancing to their music on YouTube and was doing that in front of Wes's Honor Wall. There are so many experiences that just bring me back to remembering Wes, and he would probably be joining me.

Upcoming Video and Text Chats

General Support Chat 
Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs

Survivors of Illness Loss Chat 
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Kim Suggs

Men's Only Video Chat 
Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 10 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Don Lipstein

Women's Empowerment Video Chat 
Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern
Hosted By: Kellie Hazlett and Peer Mentor

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 at 1-800-959-8277. 

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Inaugural Parade
TAPS Marches in Inaugural Parade

January 21, 2017

Nearly 200 surviving military family members joined TAPS in the Inaugural Parade for the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. The families took part in the parade to honor their loved ones, carrying photos of their fallen heroes on TAPS paddle fans and wearing photo buttons as they marched down Constitution Avenue.
 
For Deborah Whitaker, surviving mother of SSG Dustin Whitaker, led a group of 11 surviving military family members from Iowa for the event. "We left as strangers on a trip of a life time and came back as Family," she said.

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Virginas Feek Training her dog Sam
Saturday Morning Message: A Sense of Accomplishment

January 14, 2017

Good Morning,

The picture this week is from Ginny, mother of Patrick. You will read about what she is doing later in the message. Since there were so many wonderful replies this week, I will keep my comments short.

One thing that gives me a sense of accomplishment each week is seeing the Saturday Morning Message come to my mailbox. Then, I know you have all received it, too. For those of you who find writing a comfort, there are two ways to be creative and write about your loved one. The first is the Saturday Morning Message, which is a weekly form of communication in which survivors respond to questions about their journey. It not only goes to survivors who sign up, but it is also posted on the TAPS blog at www.taps.org/blog. The second is the Writers' Circle Newsletter. This is a monthly publication of longer pieces, poems and pictures that is sent to a closed group of survivors who sign up for it. The pieces can be used in other TAPS publications. If you would like to sign up for one or both of these groups, contact online@taps.org.

If you have questions or topics you would like to see addressed in the Saturday Morning Message, you can email me at online@taps.org. In addition to replies that are placed in the message, I also look for thoughts you have. You can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. Replies to the weekly question are best sent to me by Tuesday afternoon. You are an important part of this message, and I look forward to your questions or any ideas you may have. 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. Thank you to all who respond and to those who read this message. 

Hugs,
Carol 

Question for Next Week's Saturday Morning Message 

Linda, mother of Eric, sent this week's question: Does "feeling better" make you feel like you're letting go or forgetting your loved one? What are you doing to keep the memories so you aren't afraid of losing them? This may sound a bit like this week's question, but there were so many wonderful responses this week, I hope to encourage more survivors to share what they do. 

Song for the Week 

Caryn, mother of Nathan and spouse of Micheal, sent the song for this week, which is "Awakening" by Celtic Woman. Listening to the song's lyrics and bright music made me think about going from the depths of grief toward the light, especially when someone holds out a hand like the women in this video do. If you have a favorite song, please send it to me. I am always looking for more songs.    

Answers from Survivors

 Virginas Feek Training her dog Sam Pic 2From Ginny, mother of Patrick: I know that my son would want me to live my life to the fullest and do what I love. I have started competing in agility with our dog, Sam! It has been fun to see him get better and better! He is such a happy dog and loves his job. He brings me joy. Working with him gives me a focus and seeing his (our) progress gives me a sense of accomplishment.

We have also formed a group of swimmers who will be swimming in the 3.1-mile Tampa Bay Frogman Swim on Jan. 15 in memory of Patrick and in support of the Navy SEAL foundation. The foundation has been such a great support to us. We want to pay it forward by raising funds for the foundation. So far our team, TEAM CRY HAVOC, has raised $18,000! Our team has five swimmers: our daughter, two of my husband's roommates from the Naval Academy, a former swim teammate of Pat's and a family friend.

From Tabitha, spouse of Michael: Since my husband's passing, I've been having a hard time just going from day to day. I have been fairly remiss in taking care of myself, the house, etc. Every little thing is exhausting, and every little thing just seems so hard. I've had a few people reach out to help. However, they are much younger than me and have not experienced loss. Because of this, their patience has worn thin. Whenever I ask for help, it usually comes with a price. It can be a lecture, someone talking down to me and a look of utter disappointment. This then makes it even harder to ask for help later on and makes the task that I need help with even harder. In an effort to correct this, I'm trying to rely on others less and myself more. I imagine there will still be instances where I will need outside assistance. But, I am hopeful that if I try to do stuff myself more then the irritation to my friends will be less. And, if I'm relying on myself more, that means each task (even though still exhausting) leaves me with a great feeling of accomplishment.

From Anne, mother of Michael: My husband, "Buddy," and I used to always plan trips to go to different places and we traveled quite a bit. When I became his caretaker, our life changed drastically, and he was taken from me on June 6, 2015. He was my best friend and I still miss him dearly, but I was a lucky woman to have had such a man in my life. What made me happy this year was to book a flight to Charleston, South Carolina, to visit my niece for a week. I know it will not be the same without my husband, but I feel happy that I had the incentive and the desire to go!

From Chris, mother of Darin: As I continue along my grief journey, I want to know if my son and his fallen comrades made a difference in the lives of the Afghan people. When I learn that girls and women are once again allowed an education, the Afghan National Police have gained strength and the Afghan women are becoming entrepreneurs and leaders, I have hope. As we move into a new year and will soon observe the five-year anniversary of my son's death, I will continue to seek stories of success of the Afghan people and will promote the efforts of non-government organizations as they continue their support, especially through education.

Editor's Note: Last Memorial Day, Chris wrote a blog called "Pockets of Hope" that includes more information about the difference these brave young people have made in the lives of the Afghan people.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: What I am going to do is press myself to perform. I have scheduled myself to perform piano pieces at Steinway and Sons in Boca Raton, Florida, in April. I am performing a large number of pieces. There are three rounds in all with a total of one hour of piano music to be learned!

I am then applying to the Washington International Piano Arts Council, which is an amateur piano competition in Washington, D.C. This is in August. So I am keeping busy! If anyone would like to come to either or both, send a request to online@taps.org and I will forward it to Leslie.

From Diane, mother of Caleb: There are so many things that I can't control. I have been downsizing, getting rid of those things that just take up space. I don't do it every day, but sometimes when I'm overwhelmed, just going through a closet or drawer and getting rid of clothes and other things gives me a feeling of accomplishment - for that moment. Organizing a little at a time, in this life where everything seems out of order, helps as well. Oh, things were organized at one time, but since life is so different now, my filing/organization is completely different - it is a whole new journey.

From Robert and Katherine, parents of John: The majority of our activities or ministries will be a continuation into the new year. We participate weekly in Grief Share at our local church, assisting others on their grief journey. There is a feeling of joy when they actually "turn the corner" on their way to a new normal. Completing the book of John in both Women of Grace and Bible Study Fellowship is a goal worthy of time and study in furthering knowledge of the Bible. Speaking and listening to fellow TAPS survivors through the TAPS Peer Mentor program is fulfilling for both the mentor and the mentee as they learn to honor their loved one. Bob enjoys speaking with the children who have lost a parent. He hopes to continue this at the TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar in Washington, D.C., this May.

Our new venture is the establishment of the John M. Conant Memorial Scholarship to be awarded annually to a graduating senior, either male or female, entering the military. The recipient is to maintain a B or better academic average, participate in school and community activities/sports, and exemplify the characteristic of encouragement - John's most valued attribute. It will be awarded in May for the first time at John's alma mater. 

Upcoming Video and Text Chats

General Support Chat  
Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carol Lane and Kim Suggs  

Peer Mentor Video Chat  
Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 10:30 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Kellie Hazlett and Don Lipstein  

Survivors of Suicide Loss Video Chat  
Date: Thursday, January 19, 2017 
Time: 9 PM - 11 PM Eastern 
Hosted By: Carla Stumpf-Patton and Kim Suggs  

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 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, TAPS is available to you 24/7 at800-959-8277.  

 

This blog is copyrighted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). These blog posts may not be reproduced in whole or in part by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior written approval. It is permissible for an individual reader to view, reproduce or store a copy of this article, provided it is used only for their own personal and non-commercial use. Uses beyond that allowed by the “Fair Use” limitations (sections 107 and 108) of the U.S. Copyright law require permission from TAPS. Please contact blog@taps.org to request permission. All other rights reserved.

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