About the Compassionate Friends

JULY 2016  butterfly19

My Dear Friends

Accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature, the poet Derek Walcott said, “Break a vase and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than the love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.  The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of the original shape.”

Death shatters the vase of family wholeness.  There could be times throughout grieving when the reassembling of the pieces may seem impossible.  Conversely, it might be the imperative that starts some greater mending.

Perhaps the most obvious, and possibly the easiest, repairing comes with the impetus to memorialize the dead.  How tenderly we frame photographs, preserve possessions, light candles, plant gardens, make donations, observe anniversaries, etc.  We can never restore the broken vase to its original but the urge to prove that lives, however brief, were not lived in vain, is one of the most powerful human motivations.  In their absence our children fill our lives every bit as much as their presence did. 

There are other broken vases.  Family life is splintered as each member tries to juggle coping with individual sorrow while caring for everyone else as well. Friendships suffer also under the burden of struggling to balance empathy with the desire to re-establish normality.  Of course it’s as much a recipe for conflict and collapse as it is for support and survival.  It is a sad reality that some vases might be so cracked in the process that we have no option but to discard them.  Most, though, respond magnificently to care.  Think how art restorers go about their work – gently washing away stains, carefully brushing off dust and dirt, painstakingly filling cracks, meticulously refreshing paint – and learn from their devotion.

Amidst all this activity do not forget a very beautiful ornament needing re-assembly – YOURSELF. Loss has shattered you and your certainties and left you dazed and demoralized.  As defeated as you feel now, you do not want to stay like that. Just as your child will always be precious and treasured so you should learn to cherish yourself.  The cosmetic ad says it all – you’re worth it.  No amount of mending will ever entirely disguise the chips and broken lines but your vase can still be attractive and useful, and the patina of experience gives it a special brilliance.

Despite the tragedy of loss, or, because of it, our sensitivity to what remains is heightened.  The glue of our caring certainly will seal all that is lovely and loved.

Much love,


Newsletter July 2016 – In this issue… Editorial / July – Bereaved Parents Month AGM Notice / Birthdays / Anniversaries National Gathering / Sibling Grief / High Tea Walk of Love / Love Gifts / Arch Bishop of Canterbury / A Meditation / Notices

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.


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.

14 Responses to About the Compassionate Friends

  1. Dr Lillian Pholoholo says:

    I lost my beloved 13 year old son to cancer in may 2015, m glad to have discovered your support group. it’s not n easy journey to travel but we just have to keep on walking. …Continue to praise God whilst walking n the God who hears our deep echos of cries. ..will hear us n ALWAYS answers us. i have seen the hand of God in this. Give him a chance. .

  2. Elsabe says:

    I am desperate seeking to start a support group in KZN. I live in Scottburgh on the south coast. We have 11 churches here but none do a support group for grieving parents. Can anybody please help me as there is a need for such a group. Please contact me. My e-mail address is elsabehawk@yahoo.com. I live in a very safe secure village and can start a group here. We lost our daughter age 29 fourteen months ago. I did do a griefshare course in Jhb at Constantia Kruin Church 7 years ago after my sister passed away. I am sure with the help of other bereaved parents we can try. My main objective is that is to help myself and other grieving parents in the most confidential matter. Can somebody please help me.


  3. violet says:

    I lost my 10 months old boy on the 22/12/2015. A pain as sharp as a sword through my heart.

  4. Tona nieuwoudt says:

    My sister lost her only child on 24 december 2015 in a car accident. She is staying in klerksdorp. Is there a support group in klerksdorp and or potchefstroom

    I added her email to this mail
    My email is erinnaude@gmail.com

    Please help us. Her contact number is tona nieuwoudt 083 7043960

  5. melanie says:

    To: whom it may concern

    Good day

    my mother inlaw despratley needs a support group after the loss of her son.

    could you be so kind as to let me know if there is a support group in the south of johannesburg.

    kind regards

  6. Promise says:

    My name is Promise.I suffered a loss of my baby boy in 2005 he was 9 years old turning 10 in 1 day. HE was involved in a car crash.it still hurts cos he was my only baby till now I’m still grieving cant get over him.

  7. Judy Harcus says:

    My husband passed away 4 years ago and 5 weeks ago I lost my only son when a retaining wall at his home collapsed and crushed him underneath, he was only 48. I am finding it increasingly difficult to come to terms that he is no longer here, how am I going to cope without him. Although I did not see his body, I couldn’t bring myself to look at my broken son, I wanted to remember him as I had seen him the week before, but I have this mental image imprinted in my mind of his broken body which is permantely there. I am 70 years old and life now has no more meaning. Thank you.

  8. Zan Zeman says:

    Im struggling with the loss of my son. Ive messaged Sharon Engelbrecht. Tcf kzn. She has not responded. I live in port edward. Who can i talk to?

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