There are no strangers at TCF meetings—only friends you have not yet met.
When your child has died, suddenly it seems like all meaning has been drained from your life. When you wake in the morning, it’s difficult to get out of bed, much less live a “normal” life. All that was right with the world now seems wrong and you’re wondering when, or if, you’ll ever feel better.
We’ve been there ourselves and understand some of the pain you are feeling right now. We are truly glad that you have found us but profoundly saddened by the reason. We know that you are trying to find your way in a bewildering experience for which no one can truly be prepared.
When you’re newly bereaved, suddenly you find yourself on an emotional roller-coaster where you have no idea what to expect next. Here are thoughts on some of what you may be experiencing or feeling (many of these will apply to bereaved siblings and grandparents):
When you’re newly bereaved, you don’t see how you can put one foot in front of the other, much less survive this loss. You’ll never “recover” from your loss nor will you ever find that elusive “closure” they talk of on TV—but eventually you will find the “new me.” You will never be the same person you were before your child died. It may be hard to believe now, but in time and with the hard work of grieving (and there’s no way around it), you will one day think about the good memories of when your child lived rather than the bad memories of how your child died. You will even smile and, yes, laugh again someday—as hard to believe as that may seem.
When the newly bereaved come to a meeting of The Compassionate Friends, you will be able to listen and learn from others who are further down the grief road than you. They will have made it through that first birthday, first death anniversary, first holiday, and so many other firsts that you have not yet reached. You will learn coping skills from other bereaved parents who, like you, never thought they’d survive. There are no strangers at TCF meetings—only friends you have not yet met.
More than 18,000 people a month find the support they are seeking through meetings of The Compassionate Friends. Please check our Chapter Locator on our national website for the nearest TCF chapter. Or call the National Office at 877-969-0010 and we’ll be happy to give you a referral to the closest chapter and send you a customized bereavement packet at no charge. We have many other ways of providing support including: our national website and Online Support Community; We Need Not Walk Alone, our national magazine available by free online subscription; our monthly online e-newsletter which talks about the organization and its events; our Facebook Page with over 50,000 members; our Worldwide Candle Lighting each December; our national conference; and our Walk to Remember. We will be here as long as you need us. Even though you are newly bereaved and the road is long, we invite you to walk with us for as long as the journey takes.
“To the Newly Bereaved” is available for purchase at TCF’s Store.
Every year since the 1996 national conference in Long Beach, California, The Compassionate Friends Memory Book has traveled across the country to each national conference where it is prominently displayed as a tribute to the children of our many compassionate friends. Names are added at each conference and, as the conference ends, the Memory Book, which now has several volumes, carefully travels back to our National Office where the names of children continue to be added throughout the year. Since the first Memory Book was introduced, the names of thousands of children have been added and we’d like to include your child, sibling, grandchild, or loved one as a tribute from The Compassionate Friends.
Now, by filling out a simple form here on The Compassionate Friends national website you can have a beloved child’s name added to the Memory Book. We’re asking for your name and address on the form, as we want to send you a remembrance card on birth and death anniversaries (sorry, we’re only able to send remembrance cards to U.S. addresses). It’s a small way of telling you how much we care! When you attend a TCF national conference in the future, you may use the Memory Book indexes to locate the name of the child you submit here. Please fill out a separate form for each child whose name you wish us to add. You will receive an e-mail acknowledgment that the form and information has been received. If you wish to submit information on a child from a country outside the United States to be added to the Memory Book or if you have any questions, please send the child’s information or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.