Why bereavement support groups are essential

The Compassionate Friends (TCF) group provides support following the deaths of children.

The Compassionate Friends (TCF) group provides support following the deaths of children.

Families grieving the deaths of children, regardless of cause or age, have an outlet for sharing their grief and strength in the Compassionate Friends support group. This national nonprofit, self-help organization brings together bereaved parents, as well as grandparents and adult siblings, to help each other through the death of a child.

We all have different circumstances, but we’re all still dealing with the worst loss that can happen to a parent.

Relatives and friends are often not capable of providing necessary support for grieving parents because if they haven’t experienced the death of a child, they don’t understand what you’re going through completely. The shared experience of grief forges the link between group members that might be absent among family and friends.

The group leads discussion-based meetings, sometimes picking a topic or watching a movie, but usually just allowing a discussion to run its own course. Many newly bereaved parents will come to meetings for several months without uttering a word. Just attending the meetings helps them to grow to the point where they can open up to the group. Everyone will speak who wants to, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Compassionate Friends has no religious affiliation and neither discourages nor encourages members to speak about their faith. It does not collect membership dues or fees. The organization began in 1969 in Coventry, England, when the Rev. Simon Stephens brought together the Hendersons and the Lawleys after each couple had lost a son. Iris and Joe Lawley continued to meet with Bill and Joan Henderson regularly, and the Rev. Mr. Stephens encouraged them to invite other parents. From there, the group grew to include hundreds of chapters in more than a dozen countries.

The Compassionate Friends welcomes people no matter how long ago a child died. The group believes that, with help, grief can be eased, but it also recognizes that most people do not “get over” a loved one’s death.

When your child dies, it never goes away, but you do progress. The wound heals, but the scar is always there.

That’s what The Compassionate Friends (TCF) strives to offer bereaved parents. TCF Meetings are held on the last Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the People Place, 3400-27 Avenue in Vernon. For more information please contact any of the following: Darlene at 250-558-5026: or Carol at 250-309-4335 in Vernon.

TCF Vernon has compiled a bereavement package designed to offer comfort and guidance as you begin to grieve the loss of your precious child. If you would like a “Bereavement Package” mailed to you please contact Darlene at 250-558-5026 or e-mail to Vernon@tcfcanada.net.

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