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Event Details  

 2018 Candlelight Remembrance Service

Our Chapter will hold its annual Candlelight Remembrance Service on Sunday evening, December 9, 2018 starting at 6:30 PM at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 235 Park Street, North Reading, MA. The candle lighting portion of the program will coincide with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in each time zone around the world. We will remember our children with readings, music, a lighting of candles and a slide show in a beautiful ceremony conducted by members of our group. Family members and friends are invited to attend. A potluck reception will follow, and we invite you to contribute ready to serve refreshments. We are also looking for volunteers to help set up and break down, as well as people to do readings.

Our slide show for Our Children Remembered will take place during the event. In order to prepare the slide show, any changes or additions need to be e-mailed to the editor (see below for email address) no later than Nov 25th. For our newer parents - the slide show is a compilation of pictures of each child of members of the North Shore-Boston Chapter. We currently have over 100 families represented. You may submit up to 3 photos of your child, which will be posted as space permits on each slide. Pictures should 5x7 or smaller, and should be as close as possible to the age of your child's angel date. Pictures should be single poses when possible, not group shots, however as long as there is at least one single pose, a family picture is acceptable.  Submission should include your child's name as you wish it to be posted, birth date, death date and age at time of death.

All photos should be submitted electronically to:


Please note, due to the timing of this event, we will hold a regular support group meeting on Wednesday, December 19th, but we will not have our usual 1st Monday of the month meeting on December 3rd.

Sibling Loss Support Group

The North Shore-Boston Chapter of The Compassionate Friends Sibling Loss Group was established to give siblings a place to share memories, say the name of their sibling, discuss changing family dynamics, and talk about how to live after loss. The purpose of this group is to honor, support, and recognize siblings so they may better face the future with strength, courage, and hope. We hope to establish a community for bereaved siblings through shared experiences and discussion. We remember our siblings with joy and with sadness, with tears and with smiles. Sibling loss is as special as each sibling relationship. The meetings will explore the feelings that go on after a sibling dies, while also remembering all of the times we spent together in life.

We plan to hold the sibling meetings once a month on the same night as our scheduled chapter meetings, either the first Monday of the month or the third Wednesday of the month. Please refer to the Meetings page or the Home page of the website for the Sibling Meeting schedule.

Our Sibling Group meetings were started by Michael Padulsky, who led a similar group at Boston College for fellow classmates who were living with loss of any kind. Michael’s older brother, Timothy, died at the age of 20 from leukemia when Michael was 15 years old.

If you would like further information about our Sibling Group, you may contact either of the following members by e-mail or by phone:

Vanessa Santosuosso   806-543-7147
David Paul                     978-771-6345

Voices From Our Hearts

At this meeting, attendees may share written pieces of work authored by themselves or by others whose words have touched their hearts at any point through their grief journey. Pieces can be about our children or about broader topics, such as grieving, healing, family, support, etc. Length can be as brief as one line or as long as about 260 words, which is approximately a 2-minute reading. Those who participate may also take an additional minute to share how the writing resonated with them when they first came upon it and whether it has evolved in meaning since that time. Everyone is welcome. It is not required that everyone share a reading, as many may benefit by simply listening to words of wisdom from other sources.

Chapter Library
Information regarding our Chapter Library and other recommended reading can be found on our Library Page.


Volunteer Opportunities
If you are one of our seasoned grievers, our chapter needs you to help fulfill its mission to reach out to the newly bereaved. Please come to the meetings and share your wisdom. There are a number of ways in which you can contribute to our chapter, including:

  • Assisting our Hospitality Committee with such tasks as arriving early to set up before meetings, greeting members as they arrive, providing refreshments and cleaning up after meetings
  • Assisting with planning and organizing of special chapter events, such as the December Candlelight Remembrance Service and the Potluck Supper and Butterfly Release
  • Assisting with the library by helping members to check out and return books
  • Donating appropriate material to our library
  • Contributing written material for our monthly newsletter
  • Assisting with phone calls to the newly bereaved

For more information about volunteer opportunities or to help with any of the above services, please contact David at 978-771-6345 or by email. 

A donation box is available at each meeting and contributions to TCF may also be given in memory of a child who has died (Love Gifts). We charge no dues or other membership fees and rely on the generosity of our donors to support our website, our newsletter, office supplies, postage, copying, books and other materials.

We are most grateful for any way in which you are able to support our chapter.

History of Our Chapter

In 1977, eight years after her daughter, Gale, had died of meningitis at the age of seventeen months, Joan McLaughlin read an article in her local newspaper about a group for bereaved parents called “The Compassionate Friends.” A couple by the name of John and Dorothy Chipman were planning to hold the first meeting of the new local chapter in Lynnfield, MA. Joan understood the benefit of bereaved parents getting together, because six months after her daughter’s death, she had become acquainted with Ada Mongiello, whose daughter had died of lymphoma at the age of three. Together, Joan and Ada helped each other through their difficult times, and Joan thought it would be even more wonderful to have a whole group of bereaved parents supporting each other.

When Joan attended her first meeting in Lynnfield, she met Jean and Tom O’Hare, whose twin daughter, Jeannie, had died of leukemia at the age of fifteen. Joan and the O’Hares became fast friends. A year later, when the Chipmans decided to give up the chapter leadership, Jean, Tom and Joan became the new leaders of the North Shore-Boston Chapter of The Compassionate Friends. They moved the chapter to their hometown of North Reading and meetings have been held at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church ever since. Over the next thirteen years, the membership grew to include many bereaved parents from various locations north of Boston. During their tenure as chapter leaders, Jean, Tom and Joan were instrumental in the formation of a strong local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, as well as in reaching out to educate the community about the mission of this organization.

In 1989, the founding chapter leaders decided to step down and Art Moores took over the leadership of the chapter. Art’s daughter, Cyndi, had died when hit by a car in front of their home. During his ten years as leader, Art enlisted the support and assistance of a dedicated group of bereaved parents who were willing to donate their time and service, thereby contributing to the growth and success of the chapter.

Trudy Sevier, whose daughter, Debbie, died of suicide, became the next leader of the North Shore-Boston Chapter in 1999. The chapter continued to thrive as Trudy encouraged parents who were further along in their grief to join the chapter steering committee and take on some of the leadership roles. In 2003, Cindi Bolivar stepped up to fill the important role of chapter newsletter editor. With the exception of two brief hiatuses, she continues to serve in this position. Cindi and Reggie’s son, Joey, died in a single car accident. Cindi has dedicated herself to producing a significant monthly publication, which is an important form of outreach to the bereaved families of our chapter.

In 2004, Trudy began to transfer the chapter leadership to Carmen Pope. Carmen’s son, Tom died at the age of eleven in a boating accident. She also had an infant twin son, Christopher, who died three days after birth, of anencephaly. The chapter web site was constructed under Carmen’s leadership. The web site serves as an additional resource for the newly bereaved and their supporters, as well as a means to promote increased awareness of the North Shore-Boston Chapter in particular and The Compassionate Friends organization in general.

In 2010, Carmen asked Mariann Lindquist to join her as co-leader. Mariann’s eight-year-old son, Joel died in a tragic car accident as she was dropping him off at school. Prior to becoming co-leader, Mariann was involved in various chapter services and programs, including the library, the newsletter and the annual Candlelight Remembrance Service. Mariann has served as Chapter leader since Carmen stepped down from her leadership role in June of 2012. She also chaired the Hospitality Committee for the 2013 TCF National Conference, which was held in Boston.

In 2014 Mariann was joined by David Paul as chapter co-leader. David and his wife Melinda lost their daughter, Brianna, suddenly at the age of twenty to an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia. David has been a member of the North Shore-Boston Chapter since 2009.                                               
Our chapter has been active for 35 years and remains strong and viable due to the people who are willing to give of their time by facilitating meetings, contributing to the newsletter, serving as greeters, secretaries or treasurers, organizing the library, planning special chapter events, making phone calls or sending information packets to the newly bereaved, or simply by helping to put things away at the end of a meeting. It is truly amazing that when people are hurting so deeply, their willingness to do something to help others can contribute so much to their own healing process. The ongoing willingness of group members to reach out and help others is the reason for the long-term effectiveness of The Compassionate Friends and the North Shore-Boston Chapter.

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