Fair   48.0F  |  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

Craft Roundup for Earth Day Fun

Craft Roundup for Earth Day Fun

Repurpose stuff around the house with these family DIY projects, including a jewelry pom-pom box, cereal box gift bags – even a cool makeover for old balloons.

Living Room Spring Cleaning Checklist

Living Room Spring Cleaning Checklist

It's a formal spot in the house – mainly used for entertaining – that gets less foot traffic on a daily basis. This also means it's easier to clean! Get the scoop here.

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Bathroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Haven't kept up on scrubbing your tub or shower? Now is the time to clean up this much-used space – with these helpful tips.

Basement Spring Cleaning Checklist

Basement Spring Cleaning Checklist

Whether it's leftover holiday decor or old toys, this spot in your home becomes the catchall for your family's stuff. Organize it this season with these tips.

Garage Spring Cleaning Checklist

Garage Spring Cleaning Checklist

You just don't park your car there! This space does serious double duty as family storage space. Get everyone involved in cleaning it up with these tips.

Office Spring Cleaning Checklist

Office Spring Cleaning Checklist

It’s filled with papers, old files and tons of stuff to toss. Get started with these tips for organizing your home office.

Bedroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Bedroom Spring Cleaning Checklist

Ah, sleep. Busy families definitely need a good night's rest after a long day, so why not spruce up your sleep space? We've got tips for you to use!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement