Frequently Asked Questions
When you are thinking about starting to attend chapter meetings of The Compassionate Friends, you probably will have many questions. Remember that you'll be among people who understand.
How do I know if it's too soon after my child's death to attend?
No one can say with certainty when is the right time to come to a meeting. Sometimes family members come shortly after the child has died while others wait longer. Some people who attend shortly after the child's death may decide not to come back until they're more ready. This is a personal decision.
Do I need a reservation before I come to a meeting?
No reservations are needed. You may come when you feel up to it.For your first meeting we do ask that you plan to arrivea half an hour early for a brief orientation and to fill out a short information sheet.
If I go to a meeting, will I have to talk?
No one is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult that can be when our grief is so fresh. We do ask that you listen, however.
Is there a charge to attend?
There is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting. Our chapters rely on voluntary donations from members, friends, and the community at large.
My child was an adult and didn't live at home. Can I still go to a meeting?
Chapter meetings are open to all families that have experienced the death of a child, at any age (including pre-birth), from any cause. Regardless of our child's age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that . . . our children.
My spouse won't come with me. Can I come alone?
Yes. We all grieve differently and your spouse or significant other may not be ready to take part just yet . . . or ever.
Can I bring a friend with me the first time for support?
Of course, but we ask that they, as well as all members, respect each other's privacy. It is important for us to be able to share freely within our group and be sure confidences will be respected.
Do men attend meetings?
Yes. Men grieve, too, and are welcome to attend meetings for support.
What happens at a meeting?
Some meetings we simply introduce ourselves and share our thoughts and feelings. At other times, chapters have short programs before or after the sharing time. The programs may include a brief guest speaker, viewing a video, or listening to an audio recording. Our December meeting a Memorial Candle Lighting.
My child died from _____. Will I still be welcome?
Yes. All families that have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause, are welcome.
Religion doesn't matter to me anymore. Can people at a meeting accept that?
The Compassionate Friends has no religious affiliation. You will find TCF members are very tolerant of any views. After the death of a child, many priorities, as well as values, change.
I have babysitting problems. Would it be all right to bring my five-year-old with me?
While we understand the difficulties of finding childcare, we must ask that any children attending with you be mature enough to understand the meeting discussions and not be upset by them.
My child died seven years ago, and I postponed my grief work. Now it's catching up with me. Is it too late to come now?
We all grieve differently. Some don't feel the need for a support group until years after the death of a child. It's all right to come whenever you are ready.
How long do people come to meetings?
People attend meetings as long as they feel a need. Some attend just a few meetings while others come for years. Some are so thankful for the helpful support they've received that they stay to help so they can be there for the next persons who walk through the doors seeking help.
Why is it that TCF recommends that I attend three meetings before deciding if it's for me?
Often, the first meeting brings a lot of emotions to the surface and this may make the first meeting difficult. Attending three meetings gives you time enough to allow your emotions to even out and to understand that in sharing there is healing. By attending three meetings you will also be able to observe the different dynamics of the group as different members attend and share.