you are thinking about starting to attend chapter meetings of The Compassionate
Friends, you probably will have many questions. Remember that you'll be among
people who understand.
I know if it's too soon after my child's death to attend?
can say with certainty when is the right time to come to a meeting. Sometimes
family members come shortly after the child has died while other times they
wait longer. Some people who attend shortly after the child's death may decide
not to come back until they're more ready. This is a personal decision.
need a reservation before I come to a meeting?
reservations are needed. Just come whenever you feel up to it.
If I go
to a meeting, will I have to talk?
is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult that can be
when our grief is so fresh. We do ask that you listen, however.
there a charge to attend?
is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting. Our chapters rely on voluntary
donations from members, friends, and the community at large.
child was an adult and didn't live at home. Can I still go to a meeting?
meetings are open to all families that have experienced the death of a child,
at any age (including pre-birth), from any cause. Regardless of our child's
age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that . .
. our children.
spouse won't come with me. Can I come alone?
all grieve differently and your spouse or significant other may not be ready to
take part just yet . . . or ever.
bring a friend with me the first time for support?
course, you can bring a friend, but we ask that they, as well as all members,
respect each other's privacy. It is important for us to be able to share freely
within our group and be sure confidences will be respected.
Many chapters are divided almost evenly between men and women while others are
not. Men grieve, too, and are welcome to attend meetings for support.
happens at a meeting?
meetings we simply introduce ourselves and share our thoughts and feelings. At
other times, chapters have short programs before or after the sharing time. The
programs may include a brief guest speaker, viewing a video tape, or listening
to an audio tape or CD. Chapters usually have special months when they hold a
balloon launch or have a memorial candle lighting.
child died from _____. Will I still be welcome?
All families that have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any
cause, are welcome.
doesn't matter to me anymore. Can people at a meeting accept that?
Compassionate Friends has no religious affiliation. You will find TCF members
are very tolerant of any views. After the death of a child, many priorities, as
well as values, change.
notice the meeting is in a church. Do I have to belong to a church to attend?
TCF has no religious affiliation, chapter meetings are held in a wide variety
of locations depending upon what is available in our communities.
babysitting problems. Would it be all right to bring my five-year-old with me?
we understand the difficulties of finding child care, we must ask that any
children attending with you be old enough to understand the meeting discussions
and not be upset by them. Some chapters have sibling groups for children twelve
or older; check with your local chapter.
child died seven years ago, and I postponed my grief work. Now it's catching up
with me. Is it too late to come now?
grieve differently. Many parents don't feel the need for a support group until
years after the death of a child. It's all right to come whenever you are
ready, whether it's soon after your child's death, months later, or years
long do people come to meetings?
attend meetings until they no longer feel a need. Some attend just a few
meetings while others come for years. Some are so thankful for the helpful
support they've received that they stay to help in chapter leadership so they
can be there for the next persons who walk through the doors seeking help.
it that TCF recommends that I attend three meetings before deciding if it's for
the first meeting brings a lot of emotions to the surface and this may make the
first meeting difficult. Some say that they bring home the pain of others after
listening to their stories. Attending three meetings gives you time enough to
allow your emotions to even out and to understand that in sharing there is
healing. By attending three meetings you will also be able to observe the
different dynamics of the group as different members attend and share.