I don’t have words to describe the emotion that enveloped me these past two summers at The Compassionate Friends National Conferences.  Each time, there I stood, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart with 1,500 other bereaved moms, dads, and siblings.  In a light originating from a single flame, until the glow enveloped the hall, we lit candles, one from the other, in memory of our loved ones.  As the flame was passed, we were privy to the gift of the child’s name who brought light to our dark candle.  Then Jim and I proudly spoke our RobynApril’s name as we gave light to the candle next to us, and heard, in return, their own beloved one’s name.

I have lit candles at home for our daughter and taken comfort from the connection that was felt.  But there was something deeper, more meaningful, when I stood among others who knew my heartache because of  living their own.  At that moment,  eyes locked, Jim and I reached for each other’s hands below the glow of the lights, and without a word exchanged, we felt deeply connected in the moment.  We were Robyn’s parents, together; each living the experience of her death alone, and yet sharing the deep loss, together, as her family. Sharing a Candle Lighting with other bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, family is Profound, Intimate, Important.

For the past 15 years, The Compassionate Friends has hosted a Worldwide Candle Lighting that reaches across the globe like a sea of brightness, uniting family and friends who light candles for one hour to honor to remember children who have died from any cause, at any age from pre-birth to full maturity.  As candles burn down in one time zone, they are then lit in the next, creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world.

This year, our TCF East Of the River CT Chapter will join the world’s largest candle lighting at the private home of

Cyndi’s parents, Charlie and Anita Beeler
75 Country Lane
Vernon, CT
6:00 PM to about 8:30 PM

All chapter members, their families and friends are invited to attend.  Also welcome are any bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings who may have never attended a TCF EOTR CT Chapter meeting, but would like to become part of the gathering.  Those attending our chapter’s candle lighting are asked to bring an item or two to contribute to our Pot Luck Supper, Snacks and Desserts.  We will be running a slide show presentation of all of our ‘children’.  Photos can be submitted electronically by emailing them to Bettie-Jeanne at  TCFEastOfTheRiverCT@gmail.com    Share a few words about your child’s  or sibling’ life; their likes or dislikes, what made them laugh, what made them special.  If you have a poem or reading that you would like to contribute, please email also.

This is NOT a Holiday Party ~ those trying to avoid holiday decorations and festivities can feel comfortable in these surroundings. It is a caring gathering, rather like our Vernon Diner Breakfasts and After Meeting Get-togethers of “like-hearted” families who understand the challenges faced not only at this time of year, but all the days of our lives.

 An RSVP is appreciated via the form below
Questions?  email   Bettie-Jeanne at
or  leave a voice message at Bettie’s home ~ 860-870-7581

More information about The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Event can be found on our own website at
Worldwide Candle Lighting December 11 Honors Our ‘Children’

A list of other Connecticut and other Candle Lighting events, including the on-line virtual candle lighting and signing of the 2011 Remembrance Book,  can be found on the National Website under News and Events /Worldwide Candle Lighting.♥


please list the name of the person being remembered with the name of the person attending & relationship in ( parentheses) For example: Robyn (Janet & Ted Flanagin, Robbie's aunt and uncle)
We are planning a pot luck dinner before the candle lighting with desserts and snacks after the candle lighting. Entries, Appetizers, Desserts, Salads, Beverages are all appreciated, but are not necessary to be able to attend.

Join A Sea of Light In Memory of Our Children

Join a Sea Of Light In Memory of Our Children




Getting Through The Holidays can be a really challenging time.
Starting in October, I begin to feel drained.
First there is my birthday and Jim’s.  For the last several years of her life, Robbie hosted Birthday Breakfast for us.  Our Birthdays now have shadows of sadness.  We can’t celebrate them.

Following our October birthdays, is the Halloween Season.
Robbie adored Halloween and hosting An Autumn Party every year.
When she left the earth plane, she still had boxes of Halloween and Autumn Decorations that she had borrowed from me, while she built her own collection.

From Halloween we head right into the Thanksgiving Preparation time.
Thanksgiving was a big holiday for us, though we choose to celebrate it on a different day, once my kids got older and had “in-law families”.
We began to call it NotThanksgivingDay Turkey Day.
Robbie and I planned menus, invited our would have been home alone single friends, our friends with families, our extended family friends,  and went shopping, cleaned, decorated, cooked for all of the weeks before the actual date.
All of that died with her.

Only days from Thanksgiving to the Anniversary of Robyn’s death…
there is no time for a breath before the whole Christmas, New Year’s,  Valentine’s Day and then Robbie’s Should-Be Birthday.

We have entered into my least favorite time of year.
Coping is a CHALLENGE.
It helps to develop Survival Strategies.

11 14 11 Anchor Meeting pdf Flyer

Monday, November 14,  Fellow TCF East Of The River Steering Committee Member Nancy Cayward, who is also Facilitatior of The Anchor, a non-denominational faith based program open to all who have suffered a loss to suicide, is hosting a special meeting:

Join us as we Welcome all Those Who have Experienced a Death of Any Loved One by Any Cause .  

Monday, November 14th  7:00 pm
Colonial Point Christian Church / Center for Community
855 Chapel Rd., So. Windsor, CT

 ANYONE dealing with grief, struggling with the Holiday Season ~ WELCOME

Those who are Further along in your grief journey or not having as difficult of a time  are invited to
Come and Share Some Of Your Positive Coping Strategies
that have helped you.
By  Sharing Your Hope You Can Help Others  Find That We Can Get Through The Holidays



Introductions / go-around

Lighting of candles

Time of sharing

Closing Circle-Serenity Prayer


*Please feel free to bring a desert or ‘finger food’ snacks to share with everyone.

Hot drinks and soda will be provided.


    There will be a Memory Table,
should you like to bring and share a photo of your loved one

 RSVP requested, but not demanded to arrange adequate seating
Bettie-Jeanne tcfeastoftheriverct@gmail.com
Kimberly playkim71@yahoo.com
Nancy theanchor@snet.net