Page 7 - 2016 Spring-Summer Issue
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process is directly related to the significance of our loss.  sibling. It doesn’t have to be that way. Every opportunity

Healing is unique to each individual and there is no time     that I have when meeting new people, I will ask them if

frame that will assure that we’ve completed these processes. they know about The Compassionate Friends. I’m still

We live in a culture that for the most part does not honor amazed that the majority of times they’ve never heard of

these processes. Often when we experience a loss, people      our organization. I would never have chosen to be part

who we thought would support us, suggest to us to just get of this organization because the price of membership is

over it and go on with our lives. This does not honor the     horrific. Having said that, if you or anyone you know or

healing process and if we do not embrace and work through love has experienced the death of the child, I encourage

the healing process, our next loss will reopen the wounds of you to explore what The Compassionate Friends have to

the loss that was not healed.                                 offer and if you haven’t experienced this loss, be a friend

What is available to us to work through the healing process?  and take someone you care about, someone you love, that
For some people it is reading every book they can find that   has experienced the loss of a child, grandchild, sibling to a
can help them understand what’s happening. For others,        Compassionate Friends support group meeting. Know that
it may be working with a grief counselor. And, for many,      after our loss, the sooner we connect with people who have
participating in a                                            been there, who have walked in our shoes, the sooner the
support group helps the
                                                                                                         healing can begin.

most.                          Nothing will ever be the same after your  The Compassionate
Now after over 40 years                                                  Friends--this

of studying human         child has died, but you can heal if you have   organization, its
behavior, counseling       the courage to live through the mourning      leaders, its members-
individuals with                                                         -understand and

personal problems         process and have the willingness to embrace    implement the healing
and challenges, and                                                      process through a
assisting individuals in         the healing process.
their personal growth                                                    support system of

                                                                         over 650 chapters

and development, it                                                      worldwide. Embracing

is my opinion that support groups are pivotal, significant    the mourning (feeling) process happens through monthly
and essential for healing from life’s losses. Fortunately,    meetings, regional and national conferences, publications

there are support groups available to assist individuals,     and online closed Facebook support groups. Embracing the

families and groups with every and any challenge they may     healing (action) process is forming friendships and bonds
be experiencing. Support groups are successful if they are    with people who understand your loss and will be there for
focused on healing from loss. They are not successful if the  you 24/7, participating in events that honor and remember

individuals participating do not understand and embrace       your child, grandchild, sibling through the Annual

the mourning (feeling) and healing (action) processes.        Candlelight Service, Memorial Walk and Butterfly Release.

When Michael died, I didn’t know that there was an            No loss in life will ever compare to the loss of a child.
organization that had a support group available to me         Nothing will ever be the same after your child has died, but
called The Compassionate Friends. This organization at        you can heal if you have the courage to live through the
that time was in existence for nearly 20 years, but I didn’t  mourning process and have the willingness to embrace the
know. In my work I knew the value of support groups and       healing process. Honor the process of mourning, of healing.
had directed many people to them. Had I known there was       Know that our children (with their awareness now) love us
an organization that would support me through friendship,     unconditionally and want us to honor them by enjoying the
understanding and hope after Michael died, I am certain       rest of our experience on planet Earth until we reunite with
that my feelings of isolation, loneliness and abandonment     them.

would not have been as intense.                               Elizabeth Horwin is a Licensed Professional Counselor offering workshops,

As I look back at my experience in dealing with Michael’s     seminars and retreats to individuals, organizations and employers assisting
death, I am certain that there are countless people that are  them in dealing with and healing from life’s losses. She is a bereaved parent
going it alone after the death of their child, grandchild,    and spouse and the author of Love Never Dies.

                                                                         We Need Not Walk Alone|7
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