Fair   54.0F  |  Forecast »

Grieving Parents Find Solidarity in Compassionate Friends

This organization offers support, help and understanding among moms, dads, families, friends and relatives who have experienced the death of a child

On the third Thursday of the month, a gathering of parents with the shared experience of having lost a child gather at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Rochester. This meeting of the Troy/Rochester chapter of Compassionate Friends, held in Oakland County, typically draws anywhere from a handful of parents to sometimes more than 20. It's among five southeast Michigan branches providing support and solace to families in grieving.

A place of solace for those in grief

Compassionate Friends is a worldwide organization with the mission of assisting families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age – and to provide information to help others be supportive.

"I am in a comfort zone when I am here with others who get it," says Tina Cochrane of Pontiac, a leader of the Troy/Rochester chapter of Compassionate Friends and whose son, Rob, was killed in a car accident five years ago. "We can say whatever we want. No one is offended."

After her son's death in March 2007, Mindie Wolvin of Lake Orion tried a number of different support groups, but it was in Compassionate Friends that she found a place of solace.

"It's really important to find a support group outside of your family," Wolvin explains. "Your family has lost, too. Grief is heavy. If your friends and family members haven't lost a child, it can be hard for them to understand why you're not over it. I relate to others who have lost a child. I need to be with people who get it."

Friends, family and supporters

While the majority of attendees to Compassionate Friends gatherings are parents, some are grandparents, others siblings. And while everyone who attends is welcome and encouraged to speak, many find more comfort in listening.

"I don't say a lot, but I listen," says Colleen Lucas of Macomb, who lost her son Kyle in May 2010. "The loss of a child is like a shattered statue. You have to put the pieces back together one by one, knowing that one piece will always be missing. In Compassionate Friends, I am not alone in that process."

Where to find supporters

In addition to the Troy/Rochester chapter, Compassionate Friends has chapters in Detroit, St. Clair Shores, Livonia and Ann Arbor. Visit the Compassionate Friends site for location details.

Those attending a Compassionate Friends meeting for the first time will meet separate from the larger group so they can meet with a group leader one-on-one and share their story in a smaller, more intimate setting.

"This way, it's not so overwhelming for them," Wolvin explains. "If they feel up to later joining the larger group, I encourage them to do so.

"I tell first timers to give it three tries. Each meeting is different, so come a few times to really get a sense for the group. In the end, this is a group that no one wants to belong to, but it's a group of people who are always there when you need them."

Old to new | New to old
May 1, 2012 02:43 pm
 Posted by  jake'smom

Hi, I wanted to say thank you for doing a write up on the Compassionate Friends. I help it helps those who need us to find us.

Thanks for getting the information out there

Mindie Wolvin
Jake's Mom

Aug 6, 2012 10:25 pm
 Posted by  catherine

Hello,
My son William died October 3, 2009. I would like to attend your meeting. Today is his birthday, he would have been 27. I think I am in a good place where I would like to help others. After attending a meeting perhaps I could meet with someone to see if I might be a good fit for helping others.
With loving regards,
Cathy

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

This versatile craft material transforms into an acorn fall creation, decorative ribbon, cute Japanese critters and cool dividers for your kid's closet.

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

Mealtime can turn from pleasant to panic in a matter of seconds. Protect your child from this mishap with our list of dos and don’ts.

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

YouTube Moms Parody Iggy Azalea's Hit Song 'Fancy'

The rapper's had the hit of the summer, but these clever mothers made it their own, riffing on pregnancy and motherhood in some pretty funny viral videos.

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

Biscuit Recipes: From Classic to Chocolate

September is National Biscuit Month, but you can bake these any time! These recipes, including classic biscuits from Betty Crocker and cornmeal biscuits from Martha Stewart, will have you reaching...

Little One-Yard Wonders Book Review and Play Mat Project

Little One-Yard Wonders Book Review and Play Mat Project

Check out a new title that promises lots of sewing projects you can make for kids. Also, for the skilled seamstress, try one of its cool play-oriented patterns.

Talking to Kids About 9/11

Talking to Kids About 9/11

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001 when you got news of this tragedy? Here are nine tips to calm, educate and understand it 13 years later.

Fall Crafting at Home: Tea Towels, Harry Potter Owl, More

Fall Crafting at Home: Tea Towels, Harry Potter Owl, More

Whether you're planning a kids party, want to capture autumn art in a frame or would rather keep summer going with ice pops, try these family DIY ideas.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement