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Spring Event  

The TCF North Shore-Boston Spring Event, ‘A Garden for Our Children’, will be held on Monday, June 1st at 6:30pm at the Aldersgate Church, North Reading. We will be planting flowers in memory of our children in a garden at the entrance of the church. A flower will be provided to each family in memory of their child, grandchild or sibling. The plantings will be organized by our TCF volunteers. There will be a Pot Luck Dinner following the plantings. This will be held in the lobby area of the church. Please feel free to bring your child’s favorite dish or a food that reminds you of your relationship with them.

*** Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, the date/event will be subject to change as June 1st approaches. There will be updates in the TCF Newsletter, Website and Facebook Page regarding this event and upcoming chapter meetings.

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 unique 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.

Our sibling meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each 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
Aimee Gordon              978-808-7656
Crystal Chambers        508-523-2810
David Paul                     978-771-6345

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 became 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 imagined that it would be even more benficial to have a whole group of bereaved parents supporting each other.

When Joan attended her first meeting in Lynnfield, MA, 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, MA,  and meetings have been held at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church ever since. Joan, Tom and Jean served as chapter leaders until 1989.  During that time, they dedicated themselves to reaching out to educate the local communities about the mission of The Compassionate Friends and as a result, our chapter thrived and kept growing. 

At its onset, our chapter held one support group meeting per month and produced a monthly newsletter, which was mailed to all of its members.  Every December, the chapter would also hold a Candlelight Remembrance Service, which was a special, significant event to celebrate our children.  This tradition has continued and is usually held on the second Sunday in December in conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting event.  In the spring of 2004, some of our members came up with the idea of having a balloon release along with a potluck supper as an additional annual chapter event.  This event has served as a way to gather our members for a more casual meeting and also to honor the memory of our children.  Although we no longer do a balloon release, we continue to hold an annual symbolic Spring Event.  In 2005, our chapter website was established.  This has provided an additional resource for the newly bereaved and their supporters, as well as a means to increase awareness about The Compassionate Friends.  In 2011, the frequency of our support group meetings was increased to twice a month.  In 2015, our chapter Sibling Group was initiated and this group has continued to meet once a month since that time.  In 2016, our chapter added a third event to its annual calendar.  The Walk To Remember, which is usually held each autumn, is another opporutnity for our members to gather socially and to honor their children, grandchildren and siblings. 

Our chapter has been active for over 40 years and remains strong and viable due to our volunteers, whether they are willing to organize or faciilitate meetings, reach out to the newly bereaved, produce and contribute to our monthly newsletter, manage our chapter treasury, or coordinate chapter events.  It is truly amazing that when people are hurting so deeply, their willingness to help others can significantly contribute 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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