About the Compassionate Friends

May 2015 butterfly-9

My dear Friends,

‘Death ends a life, not a relationship.’

When the numbness wears off, the physical aching fades, and the rage and remorse abate, what lingers?  When sleep once again refreshes, concentration returns, and interests are revived, what remains?  The longing and the yearning, that stays.

After a death some recommend a change of scene, a break from routine, an escape from the place of loss.  Certainly it’s good to have the opportunity for a rest and a chance to think and mourn, remember and plan.  That’s not always either a possibility or a choice.  Many grievers are fearful that leaving is disloyalty to the deceased, that somehow being somewhere else will mean they’ll forget.  This fear is even worse when emigration becomes another area of challenge and change.

Those who do go away will confirm that they do not forget.  Even visiting exotic, far-away places and keeping to hectic schedules does not stop the memories nor the wish for the dull way things used to be.  The reality is that our children are in our very marrow and wherever we are, they are too.

The passing of years softens the pain somewhat, but that longing may still throb intensely.  It’s not only special dates that trigger yearning.  Certain smells and sights and sounds can also do so.  Should it be any other way?  Our children’s presence once filled our lives, now their absence does.  We loved greatly, we still do, and that’s one of the few constants in our uncertainty.

I once wrote about this sensation of missing so much.  It’s as true for me today as all that time ago.  For you too perhaps?

I miss …

  • The sound of the fridge door opening, the phone calls, the simultaneous playing of the radio, TV and CD player.
  • The sight of sunlight dancing on tousled hair, the sweet smiles, the clothes and the clutter.
  • The smell of the bathroom after getting ready to go out, that special essence now fading from cupboards, the first rose of summer picked for me.
  • The sensation of an encouraging hand, buying treats, needing a new photograph album.

With much love,

Rosemary Dirmeik

Lifted from the book A String of Pearls by Rosemary Dirmeik, which is for sale at the TCF Office in Johannesburg.

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Information about the Compassionate Friends and how to participate in its services

We are a Charity Organization and our aim is to help bereaved parents cope with their loss.  Our services are free of charge for the first year.  (Star ting from the first time you made contact with us at TCF).  Thereafter if you would like to continue participating in our activities, we ask for a fee (Subscription) of R250 per annum  That would include receiving Newsletters, birthday and anniversary cards.

  • You can also sponsor a page in our Newsletter at R100 per page or R50 per half page.
  • A Love Gift can be any amount of money you would like to donate in memory of your child.
  • We are looking forward to your participation in putting together our Newsletters by writing your own story. Send your story to TCF at the beginning of the month and we will do our best to publish it.  We would like to support you in your grief journey.  Writing brings healing.
  • Contact any of our Counsellors for one-to-one sessions.

If you know of any organization (schools, hospitals, work places) that would benefit from our services at TCF, please inform them about our work.  Often people do not know what to say or do or how they can help someone who has lost a child or a sibling.  Our contact details are in the Newsletter.

THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS

We are a Charity Organization and or aim is to help bereaved parents cope with their loss. Our services are free of charge for the first year. (Starting from the first time you made contact with us at TCF). Thereafter if you would like to continue participating in our activities, we ask for a fee (Subscription) of R250 per annum That would include receiving Newsletters, birthday and anniversary cards.

  • You can also sponsor a page in our Newsletter at R100 per page or R50 per half page.
  • A LOVE GIFT can be any amount of money you would like to donate in memory of your child.
  • We are looking forward to your participation in putting together our Newsletters by writing your own story. Send your story to TCF at the beginning of the month and we will do our best to publish it. We would like to support you in your grief journey. Writing brings healing.
  • Contact any of our Counsellors for one-one-one sessions.

If you know of any organization (schools, hospitals, work places) that would benefit from our services at TCF, please inform them about our work. Often people do not know what to say or do or how they can help someone who has lost a child or a sibling. Our contact details are in the Newsletter.

BUTTERfly1The History of The Compassionate Friends
TCF was founded by Reverend Simon Stephens in the UK in 1969 after he witnessed the support two bereaved families were able to draw from each other after losing a child. TCF was founded in South Africa in 1983 by Linda Abelheim and there are now more the 30 groups throughout the country.

All who belong to TCF have learned that the death of our child has caused a pain that can best be understood fully by another bereaved parent. Knowing that others need love and support, we reach out as our own grief subsides to those who still feel alone and abandoned.

TCF believes that bereaved parents can help each other towards a positive resolution of their grief, as we know that expressing thoughts and feelings is part of the healing process. We never suggest that there is a correct way to grieve or that there is a preferred solution to the emotional and spiritual dilemma raised by the deaths of our children – we understand that each parent must find his or her own way through grief.

TCF reaches out to all bereaved parents across artificial barriers of religion, race, ecomomic class, or ethnic group.

We also offer advice to other relatives, friends and professionals as to how to deal with those close to them who may be grieivng. To this end, TCF offers support literature and gives regular talks and presentations within the community, such as at schools, hospitals, corporates, the media and other charitable organisations.

Our Mission Statement
THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS is a mutual self-help organisation offering friendship and understanding to bereaved parents and siblings.

The primary purpose is to assist them in the positive resolution of the grief experienced upon the death of a child and to support their efforts to achieve physical and emotional health.

The secondary purpose is to provide information and education about bereaved parents and siblings. The objective is to help those in their community, including family, friends, employers, co-workers and professionals to be supportive.

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