Principles of The Compassionate Friends
- TCF offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- We have learned through our own experiences that the death of a child, sibling, or grandchild causes a pain that is often best understood by others who have also experienced such a loss.
- We focus on supporting parents, siblings, and grandparents in their journeys through the natural process of grief.
- We define the terms “parent,” “sibling,” and “grandparent” broadly, welcoming the bereaved from all family units.
- TCF believes that bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents can help each other toward a positive resolution of grief.
- We understand that each bereaved person travels a unique path through grief.
- We know that for some expressing thoughts and feelings are integral to the healing process, and we provide a safe, supportive environment for such expression.
- We are a self-help organization and thus do not offer professional psychotherapy or counseling.
- We respect the professional community and welcome its support. However, as a self-help organization, we do not rely on professionals for supervision or formal guidance.
- TCF reaches out across society’s barriers to all bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- We respect everyone’s beliefs and espouse no specific religious or philosophical ideology.
- We welcome parents, siblings, and grandparents of all ages grieving the loss of a child, sibling, or grandchild of any age, and from any cause.
- We do not take sides on political issues or endorse political candidates.
- We treat each other with care and respect, showing consideration for those with whom we may disagree.
- TCF understands that every member has individual needs and rights.
- We never suggest that there is a “correct” way for a parent, sibling, or grandparent to grieve.
- Everyone joining a local meeting deserves the opportunity to share thoughts and feelings. However, no one is compelled to do so.
- All participants at a TCF gathering have the responsibility to listen.
- TCF reaches out to the bereaved primarily through our community of local and virtual chapters, secondarily by website, social media and conferences.
- TCF local Chapters continue to be the heart of TCF. We support regularly scheduled Chapter meetings as the foundation of our service.
- Chapter meetings are, above all, safe places where thoughts and feelings can be freely expressed, and where all participants can find care and friendship.
- TCF’s secondary programs, website, social media, and conferences, create a safe and caring environment that provides comfort and support for all members.
- Chapters are self-managing, and operate within the principles, policies, and practices of TCF.
- We honor those who lead our Chapters as integral to TCF’s mission, and work to support them in their outreach.
- TCF Chapters belong to their members.
- We do not charge individual dues or fees for participation in local Chapter meetings.
- We treat what is said in Chapter meetings as confidential information.
- We reserve the most intimate segment of Chapter meetings—the sharing session—for those who are bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- We believe that the regularly scheduled Chapter meeting should focus on sharing, healing, and hope. We recommend that issues of Chapter management be addressed outside these meetings.
- TCF is coordinated nationally in its support to its Chapters, bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- TCF’s national operations are guided through its by-laws, policies, and procedures, and overseen by a volunteer board whose members are elected by its Chapters and Regional Coordinators.
- TCF’s national organization exists, first and foremost, to serve Chapters and to coordinate outreach in ways that extend TCF’s collective ability to reach those who seek support.
- The national organization promotes the mission of TCF, manages our relationship with TCF affiliates in other countries, and ensures the integrity of our operations and adherence to our by-laws, principles, and policies.
- As members of TCF, we acknowledge our responsibility to support our local and national goals by contributing, as best we can, our time, talent, and resources.
The Compassionate Friends Credo
We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends. We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope. The children we mourn have died at all ages and from many different causes, but our love for them unites us. Your pain becomes my pain, just as your hope becomes my hope. We come together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances. We are a unique family because we represent many races, creeds, and relationships. We are young, and we are old. Some of us are far along in our grief, but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that they feel helpless and see no hope. Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength, while some of us are struggling to find answers. Some of us are angry, filled with guilt or in deep depression, while others radiate an inner peace. But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain we will share, just as we share with each other our love for the children who have died. We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building a future together. We reach out to each other in love to share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts, and help each other to grieve as well as to grow. We Need Not Walk Alone. We Are The Compassionate Friends.
This is the website of Elizabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004). A Swedish born woman who worked as a psychiatrist. Famous for hear work with death and dying. Helped establish many hospice locations. Some of the information on this website could be of help with the grief we experience losing a child.
A Website for Grief Help
When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving.
OPENING MY HEART: WHAT GOOD IS TCF? DOES IT REALLY HELP?
WORKING TO FULFILL OUR HOPE: NO REGRETS, NO DESPAIR
WHY WE ATTEND: Hunger for help from hopelessness, lost feelings, and despair.
SOME THINGS WE RECEIVE
(1) Outpouring of support
(2) Remarkable compassion and encouragement
(3) Demonstration of the abiding power of hope.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR IN OTHER BEREAVED PARENTS
(1) Those willing to encounter others’ sense of bewilderment and to continue to be there in order to help rebuild lives that have been crushed by loss.(2) Those willing to press on in spite of the personal trauma of their own loss or losses. Those with ideals, integrity, and the vision which embodies hope and is dedicated to an ideal still in the future.(3) Those who are compassionate and great enough to rise above their own pain and grief in order to help and inspire others, yet humble enough to really listen and to be inspired by others.(4) Those willing to embrace each other as models of persistence, faith, dignity, and passion to our cause of promoting concern, and ongoing support and caring for others. (5) Those willing to accept the challenge that is worthy of inspiring others and dedicating ourselves to building a chapter that is working to fulfill the hope that others see in us.
After more than 15 years…….
WORKING TO FULFILL OUR HOPE: "NO REGRETS, NO DESPAIR"
By Faye McCord, TCF/ Jackson, MS - Written in thanks and dedication to all bereaved parents who reach out in support and encouragement to others, and especially to the Jackson MS Chapter, and in loving memory of my son, Lane McCord (1/26/65 - 9/13/98
Observations on Long-Term Grief
Does our grief seem remote after several years have passed? The crisis is over; the dramatic unbelievable event of our child's death may seem to lie dormant some of the time.....like a sleeping serpent still ready to strike at a moment's notice. But the serpent when confronted will strike because we are always vulnerable to it's attack. The attack may come in different forms; an unexpected phone call with bad news; a chance encounter with an old friend who may ask about our child; perhaps even an invitation to a "happy" event. Most of the time we are unprepared for the serpent's attack and we may feel helpless to endure it's poisonous venom. And sometimes, especially after several years of attacks from the serpent, we may have tried to build up an immunity to its attack - a wall we may try to hide behind.
We have been bitten so many times, we may grow resistant to grief's venomous bite. We may need an antidote. What could possibly help? What could the "grief antidote" be? Could it be a fresh immunization; a booster shot of compassionate friends meetings, possibly more grief work? After all, we will live with this grief serpent the rest of our lives. I know for me, just being with my compassionate friends who understand me and are here to help me is one antidote I use to help combat the poisonous venom of grief. I need you! We need each other! Let us be here to help immunize the effects of poisonous grief with our understanding and our compassion.
Lane’s mom Faye McCord, TCF/Jackson, MS
_____________________________________________________________________ Losing Control
In grief, your emotions rule!
You feel inadequate to suppress the tears welling up at unexpected moments. You meet someone who knew you before you lost your child, and you struggle to appear "normal" trying to exhibit the vestiges of self -control. You almost have it made, when out of the blue a question is asked or a comment is made, and you stand there feeling naked, your feelings exposed before the world. You feel like a child! You want to run and hide, but there is nowhere to go. You feel trapped. Finally, you mutter a feeble excuse and turn to flee, trying to free yourself from the miserable scene.
We who have lost children, have all been there. We understand. We have learned the hard way that there is no place to hide, no escape, nowhere to go to be free to express our grief deeply and honestly - except at our TCF meetings. That's why TCF is so important. It is our safe place, our hideout, our comfort zone.
Join me at our next meeting, where you can be "free" to express your grief, your pain, with others who understand. I am thankful for TCF and for the life-long friends I have met there.
Come join us at our meetings, to find your safe haven, your compassionate family, your "home-sweet-home."
Faye McCord TCF, Jackson, MS