A SEA OF LIGHT IN MEMORY OF OUR LOVED ONES December 10, 2017

Great Apologies that it became necessary to cancel this anticipated event.
for additional listing of other local candle lightings, please check
https://www.compassionatefriends.org/wcl/

WORLDWIDE CANDLE LIGHTING VIRTUAL MEMORIAL WALL

In honor of our 21st Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting share a message to our memorial wall in memory of your child, grandchild, or sibling.
Sharing to the memorial wall will be available until Wednesday 6:00 pm (EST), December 13th.
The memorial wall will remain on our website until Summer of 2018 at
https://www.compassionatefriends.org/wcl/memorial-wall/

 

Please Register Using Form Below

PLEASE CLICK TO VIEW THE 
WHAT ♥ WHY ♥ WHEN ♥ WHO ♥ WHERE
WHAT TO BRING ♥ WHAT TO WEAR ♥ HOW TO REGISTER
.pdf

Thank you
,
Lisa Cortese, Cristina’s mom 
for hosting host our gathering, through the generosity of her mom, Norah Gadomski,
in Memory of Cristina Marie Cortes and Bernie Gadomski
57 1/2 Elm Street Rockville, CT
located close to the corner near Rockville General Hospital
and the huge stone Congregational Church.
Mrs. Gadomski’s private home  is located behind
“NORAH’S PLACE”
(A Residential Care Home and Assisted Living),
NORAH’S PLACE is a beautiful Victorian yellow house.
with a ‘statue’ of a horse and buggy in front.

All chapter members, their families and friends are invited to attend.
Unlike our meetings, we do not limit age.
If you have a young one who you feel could participate, they, too, are welcomed.
Also welcome are any bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings
who may have never attended or can not attend 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  loved ones.
Photos can be submitted electronically by emailing them to Bettie-Jeanne at  TCFEastOfTheRiverCT@gmail.com before midnight December 7.
If you’d like, 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 (or bring it with you).

This is NOT a Holiday Party ~ But there will be  holiday decorations.
It is an informal, caring gathering,  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
TCFEastOfTheRiverCT@gmail.com
or  leave a voice message or  leave a voice message at 860-375-EØTR (3087)

 

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.
Sending

WHY ATTEND?

I don’t have words to describe the emotion that enveloped me at all of our 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.
Each year, 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 recipients of 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 21 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.
To provide for intimacy and a “homey” atmosphere,
our TCF East Of the River CT Chapter chooses to join the world’s largest candle lighting at the private home of one of members.
This year we thank Cristina’s mom and grandmom for hosting this very special gathering.♥

More information about The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Event can be found on our own website at
December 10, 2017 TCF East Of The River CT Candle Lighting
Honoring Our Loved Ones
A list of other Connecticut and other Candle Lighting events,
including the on-line virtual candle lighting
and signing of the  Remembrance Book,
can be found on the National Website under
News and Events /Worldwide Candle Lighting.

The Bark and The Tree ~ A Grief Journey

In April of 2010, just 16 months after my Robbie left the earth plane, I wrote THE BARK AND THE TREE for my (then) TCF Chapter newsletter.

I am at a different place, now, than I was then…

Yet sharing these words, these emotions, is no less honest, no less important.  I will be  adding a post script to the ending, 13 months after I initially wrote

 The Bark and The Tree

My first night at our The Compassionate Friends meeting, after the meeting had ended, a few of us sat, talking.  It had been only about a month since my daughter’s tragic accident and I was that combination of foggily numb, angry, cloudy and very depressed that most of you know so very well from your own journey.  In my heart I knew that my life could never be anything but what is was at that moment.

An analogy was shared with me that evening that I absorbed as much as I could absorb anything in that fogginess.  My daughter used to call me, not necessarily with great fondness, The Queen of Analogies.  I had used them, often to her annoyance,  frequently as she was growing up to illustrate points and teach lessons.  They didn’t always make sense to her, but being The Analogy Queen, I coveted any good one that I heard and make up scores of others on my own.

Over the course of the following months after that night, I found myself drawn back to the Tree and Bark Analogy when people would ask how I was doing.  “Today I only know The Bark”, I might reply, or  “There may be a vague sighting of something that could be a tree”, I might say at another time.   And then I would have to explain what I meant, having turned The Bark of the Tree into an analogy that spoke to my emotions.

In the very beginning following the death of our loved one, it is as if we are standing in a forest, but with our faces pressed up against the bark of a single tree.  It is all that we can see.  It blocks out the sun and obscures everything else. All we know, all we are, everything that exists for us is that blurred bark of the single tree.

As time passes, we might, some days, notice that there may be a butterfly lit upon that patch of bark, or a bit of life sustaining sap trickling upon the grain.  Maybe, on one particularly day, we might notice that the patch of bark is actually part of a tree.  And as some time passes, we might begin to notice that the tree has another that stands next to it; and another and another and that there is actually green grass making up their bed and blue sky welcoming their outreaching branches. On a particular day we might notice that The Bark on The Tree is actually part of a forest and that other life, other animals weave among the trees and fly among the branches.  Our ears may hear the babbling of a distant brook or the songs of the birds.  We might actually feel the warmth of sun or a cool breeze tickling our skin.  And, then, some days, again and again, all we can see is The Bark.

The Bark never goes away.  It is always part of our picture.  Some days, especially in the beginning of what is now our Lifetime Journey, The Bark is all that we can handle, all we can see, all we know exists.  Sometimes, even on that same day, we might get a glimpse of the trees or feel the sun, but then are pulled back to seeing only The Bark.  Yet the forest remains, too, even if some times it is  out of our ability to comprehend its existence.

Mostly, in the first year of the past 495 days, I’ve had my face pressed up against The Bark and was often aware of little else.  Occasionally I would surprise myself, when someone asked, to admit that there were times, when I might believe in the possibility that I could see other trees someday.  And once in a rare while, now, I do catch a blurred glimpse of The Entire Forest.  Yet some days, especially the days that Robyn’s Void screams so loudly that I can hear nothing but how deeply I miss her and grieve for the absence of our daily teasing, talking and friendship, that there exists only the fogged coarseness of The Bark.

It was more than a year after my first meeting that I discovered who had presented the analogy to the women who had shared it so kindly with me that first night.  She is Toni Wood, Barry’s mom, and had long been a Compassionate Friend to the members of This Ugly Club that we all, so deeply against our will, were forced to become part of.  I was able to talk with Toni about the origin of The Trees and she shared this with me:

“…To tell you the truth I have no clue where I got that from… but I used it because it worked for me.  I can see the tree now more clearly and the memories don’t always make me cry now ~ most of the time, but not all.  When I first thought about this analogy all I could see was the ugly knot of Barry’s death.  I could not see the good memories, the wonderful things he did and said.  I had to step back and get my nose away from the knot in the tree so I could see more of the tree ~ his life.  The roots of the tree ~ the family.  The branches ~ his son and wife and friends.  The leaves and flowers are the good and the bad things he did in his life.  Even bad things are good memories now.”

Toni Wood, Barry’s mom

What I do know now to be true, is that The Bark will never completely go away for me, though, someday, it might become ‘the bark’.  And I have found that sometimes I might be having a “Forest Moment”; like the day I officiated my son and my daughter-in-law’s outdoor Vermont winter wedding. Their vows were shared next to a gorge, a shivering waterfall and among the birds and trees.  I was in “The Forest” when all of the sudden a painful spasm of Robyn’s Absence, hurled me back toward The Bark.  I know that even at a time when I might feel the sun, that I can suddenly crash right back into The Bark of the Tree.  That is The Reality of Missing My Child.

Perhaps the irony is that, as a family, we bought 30 acres of forest that we built our family home on together.  We used to play among the trees and go “tree hunting” for games of hide and seek and scrap wood for our cozy fire circles.  Trees always used to make me smile and feel comforted.  Perhaps, some day, again, I will see them and appreciate their beauty.   For right now, I am still all too well aware of The Bark. ♥

Bettie-Jeanne Rivard-Darby, Ellington, CT
Forever RobynApril’s mom
 
May 2011 Post Script
To Be Posted

 

RobynApril Rivard-Darby

A SEA OF LIGHT IN MEMORY OF OUR CHILDREN December 08, 2013

Please Register Using Form Below

WorldWide Candlelighting 2013

Thank you
Ken and Arlene
 Dworetsky,
Daniel’s parents,
For sharing your home
63 Long Hill Drive
Glastonbury, CT

All chapter members, their families and friends are invited to attend.  Unlike our meetings, we do not limit age.  If you have a young one who you feel could participate, they, too, are welcomed.  Also welcome are any bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings who may have never attended or can not attend 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 before midnight December 7.
If you’d like, 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 (or bring it with you).
This is NOT a Holiday Party ~ There will be no holiday decorations.
It is an informal, 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 TCFEastOfTheRiverCT@gmail.com or  leave a voice message or  leave a voice message at 860-375-EØTR (3087)

 

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.
Sending

WHY ATTEND?

I don’t have words to describe the emotion that enveloped me these past four 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.  The first three years, 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 recipients of 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. (this year because of restrictions at the hotel in Boston, we were not allowed to light open flames and instead used battery operated candles.  It was still symbolic and nice, but didn’t have the same impact as the burning flames of the lit candles.)

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 17 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. To provide for intimacy and a “homey” atmosphere,  our TCF East Of the River CT Chapter chooses to join the world’s largest candle lighting at the private home of one of members.
This year we thank Ken and Arlene, Daniel’s mom and dad, for sharing their home.♥

More information about The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Event can be found on our own website at
http://www.tcfeastoftheriver.org/candlelighting2013/ ‎
Worldwide Candle Lighting December 08, 2013 Honors Our ‘Children’
A list of other Connecticut and other Candle Lighting events, including the on-line virtual candle lighting and signing of the 2013 Remembrance Book,  can be found on the National Website under
News and Events /Worldwide Candle Lighting.♥