WHEN A CHILD DIES The death of one’s child is unnatural and devastating. We expect our children to outlive us, to be a continuation of our own lives. The shattering of this expectation is unique and complex and cannot be likened to any other loss. Bereaved parents experience many different feelings…disbelief, sadness, fear, anger, guilt, loneliness, despair, and personal loss. These feelings are all part of the emotional reaction called “grief”. Because of the nature and intensity of this grief, many parents and siblings have a need for more support than what family and friends can provide. OUR SHARING MEETINGS At meetings bereaved parents can share their feelings in a safe, understanding place. Or, if they prefer, they can just listen. Parents come as they wish, for as long as they wish. There is no timetable for grief. Many who have been helped by the group continue to come, to help others. The “Sharing Circle” is one of the most important parts of our meetings. Many believe that it is beneficial, perhaps necessary, for bereaved parents to talk about their loss, to recall the events surrounding it, to express their feelings, and to share memories of their child. If emotions are held back and feelings are not expressed, the progress towards a positive resolution of grief may be delayed or prevented. For these reasons bereaved parents are encouraged to talk about their experiences, to express their feelings, and to acknowledge the reality of their loss. TCF Frequently Asked Questions If I go to a meeting, will I have to talk? No one is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult it can be when our grief is so fresh. We ask that you simply listen. My child was an adult and didn't live at home. Can I still go to a meeting? Meetings are open to all families who have experienced the death of a child, at any age, from any cause. Regardless of age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that… our children. I am not a resident of the Sunshine Coast. Can I still attend? Yes. If you are a bereaved parent visiting the Sunshine Coast please feel free to join us. Is there a charge to attend? There is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting. Our chapters rely on voluntary donations from members, friends and the community at large. What happens at a meeting? Some meetings are simply about introducing ourselves and sharing our thoughts and feelings. At other times, we may have short programs before the sharing time. The programs may include a brief guest speaker, viewing a video tape, or listening to an audio tape. There is always an opportunity to share feelings and to share refreshments afterwards. Can I bring a friend with me? Of course you can bring a friend, but we ask that they, as well as all members, respect each other's privacy. My partner doesn’t want to come with me. Can I come alone? Yes. We all grieve differently and they may not be ready to take part just yet...or ever. Many parents attend meetings without their partners. Sometimes meetings are 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. I have baby-sitting problems. Would it be all right to bring my child with me? While 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. Do I need a reservation before I come to a meeting? No, just come whenever you feel up to it. Some people prefer to talk to someone first, before attending. If so, contact us by phone or e-mail. (See back page.) My child died several years ago, and I now feel a need to share my grief. Is it too late to come now? We all grieve differently. Many parents don't feel the need of 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 later. OTHER LOWER MAINLAND CHAPTERS: TCF Sunshine Coast Meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Sunshine Coast Hospice Society Kirkland Centre 4602 Simpkins Rd. Davis Bay SunshineCoast@TCFCanada.net Judy Lynne 604 886 7334 Bring a photo of your child to share, if you wish. Hope to have in the future: Lending Library Quarterly Newsletter Audio/Video Tapes Telephone Friends Special Events: Candlelight Memorial Service Seasonal Winter Gathering With Appreciation to The Sunshine Coast Hospice Society for providing The Compassionate Friends with technical and administrative support and space to hold the monthly meetings. When a child Dies… North Shore Meets: 2nd Wednesday at 730 pm North Lonsdale United Church, 3380 Lonsdale Ave. firstname.lastname@example.org Burnaby Meets: Last Wednesday at 7 pm South Burnaby United Church Hall 7591 Gray Ave., Burnaby (side entrance) email@example.com Surrey-White Rock Meets: 2nd Wednesday at 6:00pm Victory Memorial Park Funeral Chapel 14831 28th Av. Surrey Surrey-WhiteRock@TCFCanada.net Coquitlam Meets: 3rd Thursday at 730 pm Annex to Como Lake United Church 535 Marmont St. (at King Albert St.) firstname.lastname@example.org National Office The Compassionate Friends of Canada 1 866 823 0141 email@example.com www.tcfcanada.net “We Need Not Walk Alone, We Are The Compassionate Friends” THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS Sunshine Coast Chapter The Compassionate Friends is an international, non-profit, nondenominational, self-help organization offering friendship, understanding, grief education and hope for the future to all families who have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause.