The 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.