Twenty-three years ago, on the day we buried our sons Kevin John and Kareem Anthony, my wife and I attended our first TCF meeting. I can still remember walking into that room that was divided into two groups; one group had people like me; sad, angry, hurt, crying, and distraught….the other group had the people that I wanted to be, people that were smiling, hugging, talking, and not crying.
I knew I had found my people; I just didn’t know how long it would take for me to graduate from group “A” to group “B.” No matter how sad the meeting made me feel and how much I cried, I felt safe and looked forward to being there every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.
And then one day I turned around and realized that not only was I now in group “B,” I was the Chapter Leader and the Regional Coordinator. I was standing in the front of the room sharing my story, encouraging all our new parents to attend at least three meetings before deciding that TCF was not for them. I also learned on this journey that sometimes it’s OK to remember the past; we don’t always have to only focus on our new reality.
I used to wish each of my children good night individually, kind of like the Walton’s with their “Good night, Ma” and “Goodnight, Pa.” In my house, the good nights could take two hours because you also had to explain why you loved each person and how much; thank you, Kevin, who started that. After a very long work day, my wife said, “Ok. I love you guys more than chocolate cake,” and for the first time everyone was happy and agreed that she loved them very much. After that, it became a tradition in our home, and it has become my trademark to end our TCF meetings and all TCF events with “I love you more than chocolate cake.”
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