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Meetings

Chapter meetings are held on the first Monday and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 PM at:

Aldersgate United Methodist Church
235 Park Street (Route 62)
North Reading, MA
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(When the meeting date falls on a holiday, the meeting will be held on an alternate date. Please check the meeting schedule.)

(In the event of inclement weather necessitating the closing of North Reading public schools, our chapter meeting will also be cancelled.)

Our meetings are open to all bereaved parents whose children have died at any age from any cause. You are welcome to attend, no matter how much time has passed since your child has died. Siblings and grandparents are also welcome. If you are uncomfortable attending alone, feel fee to bring a friend or relative to support you.

Our meetings usually consist of sharing sessions facilitated by bereaved parents who are further along on their grief journey. Each month, we select a different topic to start off the group discussion, but our discussions are not limited to that particular topic. We try to meet the needs of everyone who attends the meetings. The following is a schedule of upcoming meetings and facilitators:

2017 Meeting Topics and Facilitators


Topic Facilitators
1/2/17   
How We Stay Connected To Our Children
Cindi & Carmen
1/18/17   
Open Sharing Session
-and-
Sibling Group       
Melinda 
 
Vanessa & Chanel 
2/6/17
Down the Road - Several Years After the Loss
(Panel Presentation) 
David P.
 
2/15/17
Men's Group
Women's Group 
-and-
David D.
Carmen 
 
Vanessa & Chanel 
3/6/17
Circumstances of Our Loss
Cindi & Regan
3/15/17
Open Sharing Session
-and-
If You Had 5 More Minutes 
Melinda & Carmen
 
Vanessa and Chanel 
4/3/17   
Open Sharing Session 
David D. & Reenie
4/19/17
Precious Memories 
-and-
New Dynamics With Our Parents 
David P. & Debbie
 
Vanessa & Chanel 
5/1/17
Sibling Panel 
Vanessa & David P.
5/17/17   
Open Sharing Session
-and- 
Journey of Self Discovery - How Grief Has Changed Us 
Carmen & Regan
 
Vanessa and Chanel 
6/5/17
Balloon Release and Pot Luck Social - 6:30 PM
 
Optional Sharing Session - 8:00 PM 
 
 
Cheryl C. 
6/21/17
From Shock to Grief to Reinvestment
-and-
Open Sharing Session 
David D. & Cheryl C. 
 
Suzanne 
7/3/17
Meeting cancelled due to holiday  
7/19/16 
Open Sharing Session
-and-
Finding A New "Normal" 
Millie & Reenie
 
Vanessa & Chanel 
8/7/17
Men's Group
 
Women's Group 
David P.
 
Regan
8/16/17
Open Sharing Session
-and-
Whispers of Love from Our Loved Oned 
David P.
 
Aimee & Suzanne 
9/5/17
(Tuesday) 
Open Sharing Session 
TBD 
9/20/17 
Missed Milestones
-and-
Sibling Stories - A Chance to Remember
TBD
 
TBD 
10/2/17
TBD 
10/18/17   
Open Sharing Session
-and-
How We Cope 
TBD
 
TBD 
11/6/17
Men's Group 
 
Women's Group 
TBD
 
TBD 
11/15/17
Open Sharing Session
-and-
Honoring Our Loved Ones During the Holidays 
TBD
 
TBD
12/4/16
Open Sharing Session
 
TBD
12/10/17
(Sunday) 
Candlelight Remembrance Service
6:30 PM 

We usually begin each meeting by introducing ourselves and our children who have died. We try to give everyone an opportunity to share personal experiences and feelings related to the death of their child, but no one is required to speak. Sometimes it is helpful just to listen.

Our meetings offer a safe place for us to talk about our children and our feelings with others who truly understand. In order to ensure the comfort and trust of our members, we adhere to the following ground rules:

  • Please be respectful of the other members of the group.
  • Please refrain from judging or criticizing others.
  • Please avoid side conversations with others while a member is speaking.
  • Please turn off all cell phones during the meetings.
  • Please treat what is shared at the meetings as confidential.

Feel free to come a little early or to stay for a while after the sharing session to browse through our lending library. Refreshments and opportunities to converse with individual members are also available after the meetings. No two meetings are the same. It is best to try to attend a few meetings before deciding whether or not The Compassionate Friends will help.

For more information about TCF meetings from the TCF National Web Site please click here:
Commonly Asked Questions

The following was written by a member of our chapter and serves as an example of the sharing which typically takes place at a meeting:

Grief’s Emotions

During a recent meeting, when the men and women formed separate groups, some strong emotions surfaced in the women’s session.

We spoke of the deep love we have for our children and how special they are to us. We remembered their unique qualities and the ways they stood out as individuals. Certain members of the group had premonitions that something might happen to their child. They wondered whether their fear of imminent loss sprang from their close attachment to their child, or from certain qualities that the child possessed. We cannot know these things for certain. Our memories are precious, yet tinged with regrets.

We voiced our anger at losing our child. We are angry about the circumstances surrounding their death. We feel anger towards ourselves and others for being unable to prevent it. We are upset with those whose lives are still intact, and who do not suffer as we do. When others experience the joy of new life or milestones, we are reminded of what we have lost. Life seems to have dealt a severely unfair blow to us, to our immediate family and especially to our child.

It was suggested that we need to accept the things we cannot change, as well as the fact that there was nothing we could do to save our child. Such acceptance is painful because it makes us feel powerless and contradicts our instincts as parents. Acceptance also creates the pain of knowing that nothing can bring our beloved son or daughter back into our lives.

We cannot ignore these often conflicting emotions. Somehow we must work through the anger and pain, while holding on to the love. Other parents who are going through the experience of having lost a child can often help us cope during this most difficult time. We should not be ashamed to ask for help, or to express our feelings when it feels safe to do so. Hopefully, we can emerge scarred but intact, with a new sense of purpose, while we continue to preserve the memory of our child. No one said it would be easy, but we owe it to ourselves to try to work through grief’s emotions as best we can.

Eventually, we will see a change. A part of us died with our child, but a part of us is being reborn, as we emerge from the cocoon of our grief. We hope to have the strength to nurture and protect our emerging selves. Perhaps, in time, we will be able to help other bereaved parents who are trying to understand and cope with new grief.

Mariann Lindquist