Attending Your First Compassionate Friends Meeting

Walking into a new group of people can be a challenging experience for most people. 
It sometimes is made that much more challenging after a death, when you are feeling very
Off Balance,


Everyone in the meeting room before you Understands and “Gets That”.
Everyone of us has been there, too.


You don’t have to call or email before coming to your first
The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT Chapter Meeting
but it may help you to feel a little less alone and much more emotionally comfortable walking into the room for the first time…
…you will already have made contact with the first person who will offer you
and, yes, Compassion. 
And we will have a name badge and welcome packet waiting for you,
so that you can come in feeling already welcomed and knowing that you are Not Alone. 


We do have name tags for everyone who attends a meeting.
None of us expect our brains to be remembering much, especially for those of us newly bereaved.
(which The Compassionate Friends has referred to as the first full five years after a death)
And we do ask you to fill out an information page so that we can get to know you and your child,  sibling, or grandchild.
Both of these can be done prior to the meeting if you do chose to get in touch before attending.
Also, if you wish to  contact us before attending a meeting,
we would be happy to meet with you ahead of time so that you have someone to walk in with.
You may bring a support person(s). 
 Everyone who attends our
The Compassionate Friends Meeting
must accept and respect our
Meeting Room Guidelines
and keep confidentiality.
If you have any questions about who may attend, just get in touch before hand.


All of us hate the reason why we have come together.
And all of us would gladly trade our relationships, as meaningful and as important as many become,  to have our child, our grandchild or our  sibling back with us again.
Our Reality is stark, but the comfort and caring that we derive from each other is great.
and so
We Welcome You to
The Compassionate Friends
East Of the River
Connecticut Chapter

Contact Information:

To The Newly Bereaved
Please visit

Keeping Your ‘Child’ Alive In The Hearts Of Many

Each month TCF East Of The River CT Chapter will have have one or two special  Birthday / Anniversary Memory Tables.

Families who have birth dates or “angelversary” dates in that month are invited to host a Memory Table, on which you might place photos, mementos, a few little items that connect you to your ‘child’*,   allowing others to “get to know your child”  through your eyes.  You are also welcomed to, if you wish (but do not have to),  share a favorite story or good memory.  

The hosting family (families)  is also invited to bring refreshments to share in honor of their child. 

We understand that one of the greatest fears that many of us experience is that our child will be forgotten.  This is our way to share them with a part of the world that cherishes our relationships and honors them.

To host a table please send an email to

or contact one of the Chapter Leaders

*  the word ‘Child’ is meant to be thought of in an inclusive manner, to describe the relationship with our loved one, and encompasses children of any age from pre-birth to full maturity as well as,  grandchildren and  siblings

Surviving Holiday Pain

by Bettie-Jeanne, RobynApril’s mom

I was at another Compassionate Friends Chapter Meeting last month and someone raised the fact that it really doesn’t matter what the date is, the pain is always there. 

I miss my child every day.  Whether it is her birthday, or mine, or Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Mother’s Day….shouldn’t make the pain any worse…  and yet it does.   What is it about the reminder of certain days of the year; the “angelversary” date, the holidays, the special event  dates which seem to open deep wounds and create a flood of fresh pain?  They are only numbers on a calendar, and yet those numbers make a difference for so many of us.

SURVIVING THE ADDITIONAL PAIN of the holidays can really be tougher for so many of us.  Trying to find a way to make our own way among holiday decorations and music,  laughing smiling people everywhere, family festivities that always have a hole where our child ~ our sibling should be with us… hurts all that much more….

Our November 18 Meeting will take a step toward finding ways to  make it through The Holiday Season as best we can; to provide suggestions for coping when we hurt … and to not feel guilty when we  feel enjoyment.  Bereaved Mom and Grief Counselor, Lynn Follett,  will lead us through what she calls  RETREATING FORWARD.   Her 26 year old son, Jeff, died in an automobile accident in 1998.  Although Lynn is a grief counselor and Jeff’s death was nearly 12 years ago (the day after Thanksgiving) it is a tragic wound that has continued to impact her life.    Lynn is the Bereavement Services Coordinator for The Holmes-Watkins Funeral Homes in Manchester, having managed STEPPING STONES bereavement services since its inception 15 years ago.  STEPPING STONES offers grief counseling and support groups for all losses at no charge to the Manchester and surrounding communities.

Lynn Shares her thoughts for the November Meeting:


 What could that possibly mean?  Well, sometimes it is necessary to pull back  and regroup  before you can make meaningful forward progress.

Think of our November 18, 2010 meeting as a mini retreat; a short time for regrouping, rethinking and communicating our needs as we enter the holiday season, thinking about going into the new year.

 We will take a sensitive look at our desires, our needs and the needs of others during this time as well as how to best make the ‘pilgrimage’ through this holiday season.

Only in the refreshing of our strength can we find the resources to move forward.

 Lynn Follett