About the Compassionate Friends

August 2015    butterfly-7

My Dear Friends 

I’ll never forget being told in therapy, newly bereaved and bewildered, that a massive 80% or so of relationships ultimately break down following the death of their child. (TCF research, When A Child Dies, 1999). Charming, I remember thinking indignantly, as if I needed to hear that as my world imploded. However, once I rallied from my exasperation of unrealistic expectations, (not least that the counsellor surely had some magic formula to hasten my healing), I reluctantly acknowledged this notion. Forewarned means forearmed and I didn’t want to lose the most important person left in my life over diverse grieving styles. 

So in this light I ponder my technique to survive the first anniversary of our only child’s death –utterly inebriated with work colleagues who had swooped me up to help me blot out my misery. Of course how we self sooth our suffering and try to avoid the dismal drudgery of grieving is a significant topic in itself… A bit of me is horrified at the incapacitated state I got into. Another part empathically recognises I was just trying to withstand the body blow of the day as best I could. However, a huge part of me wonders why I was not with my husband that day, sharing a mutual grief that only we could comprehend. Isn’t it a further cruel twist that losing your child doesn’t necessarily bring you closer together despite the commonality of shared anguish? Instead, it can leave us missing each other, dealing with our demons quite alone.

And no wonder, as you both strive to adjust to integrate such a phenomenal loss and concurrently grapple with your emptiness, anger, incomprehension, and guilt. The persecution of guilt! Our job as parents is to protect our children and the torment of not accomplishing this on the most fundamental, base level, is brutal. How understandable that bitterness and fury be directed at the one most close, as expectations of each other require dramatic adjustment. Once instinctive connectors such as comfortable conversation, shared activities or sexual intimacy may have become fraught. An impasse indeed. 

But while a relationship is inevitably placed under enormous stress, it does not mean it’s destined to fall apart. With kindness and generosity, and a sense of respect for each other’s way of dealing with your tragedy, an opportunity for a deeper connection is possible. Because at the heart of your relationship is your shared parent-child bond, the one person on the planet who can truly grasp your agony – because they feel it too.  You’ve lost your child, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose each other too.

With love,

Stephanie Jeans, MA Counselling

Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor

stefjeans@gmail.com
http://www.indabacounselling.co.uk

——————————————————————————————-

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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