Helping Others In The Darkest Time of Their Lives

4 June 2015

robyn Purple Framebpink roses - 1rpyH-17D - printI have become a Proactive Griever.
Don’t misunderstand, I have plenty of happier moments, now,
I have not stopped missing my daughter.
I have not stopped wishing that she were still living, breathing and having earth plane life, with me….
Being a Bereaved Mom STILL Sucks!

I NEVER expected to be able to go on 6 minutes, 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months without having a living Robbie by my side.
And, now, here I am 6 years later,
not only still alive, but, every day, supporting and caring for other bereaved parents who haven’t yet
gotten to this place where THE LOVE out shadows

The Compassionate Friends
is what has helped me to become
of my Daughter’s Death
rather than succumb to becoming
(thank you, Mitch Carmody, Kelly’s Dad,  and Alan Pedersen, Ashley’s Dad, for introducing me to that concept).

Now through TCF,
I not only strive to help myself, but to reach out to other bereaved families and support them,
in the same way that I have found compassion and understanding within our Chapter walls.

Every day, I try to be there for other bereaved family members,
to give a hand, a hug, love, caring and support.
for the rawness of the worse pain ever known to a parent or grandparent
(and some of the worst for any sibling)
to finally be nudged out of the way by LOVE
(and finally for some, HOPE).

I do this, all,

It is through the friendship, understanding, and hope provided by
The Compassionate Friends
that I am able to keep working surviving this most terrible of nightmares.
I am asking for a small tax deductible contribution to help me keep our TCF Chapter running.

I am asking for your help.
We need financial donations in order to keep our
The Compassionate Friends
East Of The River CT  Chapter
Every penny I, and other chapter members, help to raise
GOES DIRECTLY to keeping the chapter up and running to care for other bereaved families.

Every ounce of my efforts is because
I Want,
I Need
in Robbie’s Memory.

If you have ever cared about me,
or care about Robbie,
Don’t Let Robyn Be Forgotten!
Don’t Let The Children Of Our Chapter BE FORGOTTEN!
Collage Robyn
I can’t say it any more plainly that that.
I never expected to be without Robbie and every day it still hurts.
Every day I still wish it were different.
6 years later and  I am still struggle to accept our REALITY that Robbie will only dance next to me in spirit now.
I am in a different place than I have been, but “finding my footing” and regaining an enjoyment of living is very slow going.
Nothing in life prepared me for the Death Of My Daughter and it has dramatically changed who I used to be.

Every 29 seconds a family somewhere in the United States will experience the death of a child.
I know this heartbreak all too well since my RobynApril left the earth plane December 4, 2008….the day that every thing changed for our family.

Every month The Compassionate Friends,
through its 650+ chapters and the National Organization,
provides bereavement support to tens of thousands of families like ours.
Jim and I began the East Of The River CT Chapter
so that we could reach out to help other families enduring their own nightmares.

I know that money is really tight all the way around these days.
I haven’t been able to work since Robbie’s death and every penny counts.
Jim has had, now, 5 heart attacks that prevent him from being a wage earner.  (and being 71 doesn’t really help either!)
We truly understand a really tight budget.
Your financial support doesn’t need to be huge.
Little bits can add up.
The minimum that the on-line Friends Helping Friends site accepts is $5.00
….and even that helps me feel as if you care; and that Robbie isn’t forgotten, that she still matters.

The WALK TO REMEMBER is how we raise funds for our East of the River Chapter,
allowing us to reach out and support others in need.
100% of every donation made on line makes it directly to our The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT Chapter.

I can’t imagine how it would have been if right after Robyn’s death I had no one to turn to at all…
…no one who “got it”
and who could just be there to help me through that most awful beginning
…and still remains to help now….
TCF has become a caring family and a safe place.

By supporting us during The Walk to Remember fundraising drive,
you will be helping Our TCF East Of The River CT Chapter to raise money
to continue to meet and to expand vital programs and outreach to bereaved families in our area.
You’ll be helping us to help others
and HURT
who desperately need a little light brought to their darkness to survive the worst tragedy of their lives.

TCF NEVER charges for any services, but we need funds to keep going.


—just use the link and follow the prompts.
Thank you for helping me to honor the memory of my daughter, RobynApril.
Thank you for honor the memory of all of our Chapter Children.
Thank you for helping to keep them all alive in our hearts.

Please consider joining our VIRTUAL WALK team.
Then, you can use the site to safely AND NON-INVASIVELY email
your family and friends,
inviting them to do a GOOD WORK
of making a tax-deductible donation, too–

And, if you are able, please JOIN OUR FREE DAY OF COMMUNITY & CARING

Hugs, love and Light to all,
Forever Robbie’s mom
f tearchild hand butterfly


Death Sucks! Walking Not Alone Makes it Suck Less

Death Sucks.

Let’s face it, being left behind after someone you love dies, is not a pleasant experience.   And when it is your own child, it truly SUCKS more than there are words for.

I once was in a bereavement support group after, RobynApril,  my 28 year old beautiful daughter was crushed to death in her own front yard, and when asked how I was doing, replied truthfully with  “It SUCKS.”  The facilitator was taken aback and told me that such a response was vulgar.  I still remember looking at him through glazed, tear filled eyes and asked “And what is more vulgar than the death of my child?”  What indeed?

The other day I was speaking to a mom in her mid 70s.  Her son had been killed in line of duty 18 years ago as a Connecticut State Trooper.  Her daughter was taken by cancer 4 years go.  Apologizing for my possible offense to her, I told her that IT SUCKS.  “No,” she retorted, “It sucks BIG TIME!”  And we laughed together, understanding as only parents do who have lost a child, how BIG TIME, doesn’t even begin to cover it!

Those who have not experienced it, may want to be sympathetic and caring, but to really do so they have to imagine themselves standing at the casket of their own child, wearing cremation jewelry in a pendant around their necks, never seeing their own child again…and that imagination is too ugly to conjure up…and too frightening that it can become real.  So many civilians, as we often think now of those who have been spared this unimaginable pain, drift away from we bereaved parents as if we are contagious.  For many, our heartbreak is too painful for them to share.  Others grow impatient waiting for us to return to our former lighthearted, happy, joy filled selves.  What they don’t understand is how impossible it is to go back to who-we-used-to-be-before our child was ripped from our lives.  We are different people now.  EVERYTHING changed when our child took the last breath on earth.  Many of our former friends grow bored with our need to talk about our child and keep their spirit with us in the sharing of memories and stories.  So, not only do we lose our child, but we lose many people around us, who we always believed that we could count on, and painfully discovered that we couldn’t.  And we grow even more lonely and feeling alone.  And it Sucks.  Big Time.

In the beginning, many of us don’t care if we survive.  It doesn’t mean that we will purposely end our own lives; we don’t want to dishonor the memory of our child, but we don’t really care about living.  We often become passive riders rather than active participants.  The first year following the death is unbelievable pain, but there is still shock to numb and the care and comfort of some understanding friends and family.  The second year, for many bereaved parents, is much worse than the first.  Friends fade away, the protective fog wears off and the Reality begins to set in.  People often stop saying the name of our child, because they are very mistakenly afraid that if they do we will suddenly be reminded and cause pain.  The pain is always present, even if we aren’t showing it.  We are always remembering.  The third year can hit with force that is shocking.  Even if, as bereaved parents, we are becoming desensitized to the words DEATH, GONE, NOT COMING BACK, we still get hit with a Reality Check that can create agony. In the third year people really seem to need us to “be over it”, to have “moved on”  to have stopped grieving.  What “the civilian world” may not realize is not only are we considered NEWLY BEREAVED for the first full five years after our child’s death, but that we will always be our children’s parents for as long as we live, not just as long as they did.

I am told, though I don’t know because I haven’t gotten there yet, that the sharp pain of grief begins to soften more noticeably around the 5th year as we fall into the now-familiar rhythm of the empty space in our lives,

I am pretty sure that it will Still SUCK.  Because my daughter will still be dead.  Ask my friend who cremated her son 18 years ago.  BIG TIME!

Being around others who “get it”, who not only don’t cringe when we speak our children’s names, but ask to hear the stories, want to meet them through our memories, is a ray of light in the darkness forced upon us.  As time passes, we are forced to speak less and less about “the child gone too soon”.  Yet we Never Forget.  We Need To Remember.

The Compassionate Friends is the largest peer-to-peer bereavement support group for those who suffer the death of a child, grandchild, or sibling; gone from any cause, from any age- pre-birth to full maturity.  There are 10 TCF Chapters located in Connecticut and over 660 in the United States with chapters in 30+ more countries internationally.

 “The Compassionate Friends
is about transforming the pain of grief into the elixir of hope.
It takes people out of the isolation society imposes on the bereaved
and lets them express their grief naturally.
With the shedding of tears, healing comes.
And the newly bereaved get to see people who have survived
and are learning to live and love again.”

~Simon Stephens, founder of The Compassionate Friends

 Jim and I founded the TCF East Of The River CT Chapter in 2010, partly to help others who were experiencing the horrible pain we know all too well, but also to continue to help ourselves.  Our “new family” and “new friends” are mostly those whom we have met through The Compassionate Friends Meetings and conferences.

On Sunday, July 15, we will join others in the 2nd Annual Statewide WALK TO REMEMBER®.  Together, we will share a day of Community and Caring ~ a day of Remembrance ~ A Safe, Compassionate Gathering where we can shout out the names of our deceased loved ones, tell their stories and hold them not only in our own hearts, but share them with others!  Throughout the month of July, TCF Chapters all over the United States will host their own walks, but Connecticut is the only state hosting a Statewide Walk to involve its entire 10 TCF Chapters, their families and friends.  Not limited to The Compassionate Friends Members, Anyone and Everyone who knows the pain of the death of someone they love is welcome to come and WALK ALONG SIDE US for this FREE EVENT. (pre-registration is requested)

We will be Holding Hands and Hugging Hearts.
We will be sharing and listening to stories of those who have gone too soon.
We Will Remember With Love.
We Will Cry and We Will Laugh.

And we will Walk with Others who understand, Who “Get it”, Who Care.

And it will STILL SUCK.
But Not As Much.

 Anyone interested in walking or finding more out about the event can click here to find information or can call the Walk Information Line 860-578-HUG2 (4842) .


The TCF East Of The River CT Chapter meets the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton Inn & Suites on Pleasant Valley Rd in Manchester. For more information, call Rivard-Darby at 860-375-EØTR (3087) or visit For information about the national organization and other chapter locations, call toll-free 877-969-0010 or visit TCF’s national web site at The Compassionate Friends has a presence in at least 30 countries worldwide.




Our TCF East Of The River Chapter has a
Great Way for You to Help Yourself
while Helping Us
Help Others!

Need to clean out your basement, your attic, your closets but don’t want all of the exhausting work and hassle of having a Tag Sale yourself?  Craig’s list not your thing? Don’t want to have to try to price, list and sell stuff; always having to be home to answer those calls or take a chance with dubious strangers coming to your house?  But you aren’t the careless type personality who fills up landfills, when you know that The Stuff could still have value to someone else?

Your local The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT Chapter is hosting a fund-raising tag sale and your tax deductible donations will be greatly welcomed!

Our anticipated date for the one-day sale is anticipated
for a Sunday in August
Hosted at the home of The Compassionate Friends East Of The River Chapter Treasurer,
Dave Evans,
398 Stafford Rd
Mansfield, Connecticut


  •  It is a tax deduction to a 501-C non-profit organization
  •  Less work for you – we can even come to you to pick up your donations – or  arrange to meet you somewhere
  •  We Help People at the Worst Time of Their Lives ~ and you’d be helping us to  help others
  • We need donations to make for a Great Tag Sale ~and it is chance for you to Pay It Forward!


  •   Furniture
  •   Kitchen Goods
  •  Art Work
  •  Books
  •  Children’s Toys ~ Children’s Clothing ~ Baby Items
  •  Working Electronics
  •  Bikes
  •  Plants and Flowers
  •  Just about anything that is Too Good to Just Throw Away, but that you just don’t need anymore

ARRANGE TO MAKE YOUR DONATIONS by emailing or phoning the Chapter at 860-375-EØTR (3087)  (Please leave a voice message!)

Our TCF Chapter “funding” comes, totally, through donations and whatever little fund-raising that we can do.  People, more easily, give to causes that are bathed in HOPE of SURVIVAL – The American Diabetes Foundation, The Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, among others ~ which are all great and wonderful causes; causes that fill people with Hope of Life.  TCF is the group that people turn to for understanding when those others can’t keep their child or sibling alive or when tragedy occurs.  None of us want to be members in this “club” of being a bereaved parent or sibling – we pay the highest “dues admission” possible – by the death of someone we love.

THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS is a free peer-to-peer support group offering friendship, understanding, resources, validation and even hope to families who have experienced the death of a child or sibling, of any age from pre-birth to full maturity, from any cause.   We help to bring light to the darkest hours of a family’s life.  But that means that when someone needs us, a son or daughter, brother or sister or a grandchild has died.  That doesn’t put us on high on the list when people are thinking of charitable donations.   They don’t want to think about ever needing us.

The TCF East Of The River CT Chapter meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 at the Hilton Inn & Suites on Pleasant Valley Rd in Manchester.  If you need support after the death of a child, grandchild or sibling or for more information, call Chapter leader Bettie-Jeanne at 860-375-EØTR (3087) or visit the website at  For Information about the national organization, and other chapter locations, including the 10 chapters in Connecticut, call toll-free 877-969-0010 or visit TCF’s national website at  The Compassionate Friends is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization and has a presence in at least 30 countries worldwide.

The TCF East Of  The River Ct Chapter brings light, giving support and caring to our local families during the darkest times of their lives.♥