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


The Unofficial Version of Mitch Carmody


The first time I met Mitch Carmody was at a MEET AND GREET for those who had all “Friended” The Compassionate Friends / USA on Facebook.  We were all attending the annual National Conference in Arlington, 2010.   It was my first time at a TCF Conference…and my very first bereavement event at a National level.  I was a bit unnerved in this room filled with about 60 people with whom I shared the distinction of paying the highest dues ever to become part of an organization: The Death Of Our Child.

I remember, very well, seeing this “hippie appearing guy”, colorful bandana wrapped around his head, psychedelic sneakers, all bright colors and vibrancy, in stark comparison to my very somber and dull “just a year past my daughter’s death” demeanor and matching attire. He smiled a lot, but was genuine.  There was no masking behind his eyes.  I was intrigued.

As we did the “go around”, introducing ourselves and our children who no one could see, but who never leave us, I didn’t hear his name.  I was still very foggy, groggy, pretty newly bereaved.  I couldn’t say, then, that I was “glad to be at the conference”, because the word “GLAD”, among so many others, had died from my vocabulary, the same night that my daughter took her final earth breath….Being THERE was GOOD FOR ME; even necessary, as it turned out, to Begin my Survival, but experiencing “happy” emotion was, still, beyond my reach.

What I do remember about this “hippie-like guy” was him saying that it was Wonderful (how could a bereaved parent experience, “Wonderful”? I remember thinking) that we all had Facebook to find each other, to communicate with each other, to support each other, without ever having to leave home.  When his son had died, some twenty-two years before, there was an aloneness, a separateness, a struggle within the pain, without the instant support and caring of others who understood.  He spoke of how blessed we were to have THIS; to have each other.  He exuded warmth and sincerity.  And even though I knew from my own mom’s experience of continuing to live 64 years after the death of her first born, that we DO GO ON, I was amazed that here was this man; this FATHER, attending a TCF Conference, walking, talking, and even smiling and laughing, two decades after burying his only son.

I liked this guy, immediately.

But then, I have always been a sucker for facial hair and a person who isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.  Shades of him reminded me of The-Me-I-Used-To-Be ~ Alive, Colorful, Vibrant.

I was surprised the next day when I walked into a workshop


To find this bereaved dad, whose name was listed in the program as Mitch Carmody, Kelly’s Dad, as The Presenter.   The workshop was held in the largest auditorium space and was overflowing.

I felt the connection between us grew, as I listened to him speak about SPIRIT SIGNS, something that I not only deeply believed in, but had experienced, greatly, first hand.  At the end of the workshop, Mitch was surrounded by dozens of people wishing to meet him, talk to him, share their experiences, and I was no exception.  He patiently made time for everyone.  He seemed not only intrigued  by a couple of the stories that I shared, but exhilarated by hearing them…..
my personal relationship with Mitch Carmody had begun!

There are some people in life whom I feel we are destined to meet; who maybe on some little understood spiritual level, have been placed in our path at exactly the right and needed time.   Mitch is one of those individuals for me.   Knowing him, being with him, is like a loving embrace for the soul.  At that first conference for me, Mitch was present when I received an touching spirit sign from Robyn.  I know that every time he sees a robin, now, he is connected to me and to My Girl.

It was BECAUSE of Mitch, through Mitch, that I met his “Bother From Another Mother”, Alan Pedersen…and while that is ANOTHER story, it is a Connected Story.  Had I not “accidentally and coincidentally” walked into a workshop where Mitch was doing interpretive sign to music in a SONGS OF SORROW workshop, my life could very easily be in a much darker place now.  Alan and Mitch, together, opened a lighter window in my heart that had darkened.

I can pinpoint about 5 people, other than my unbelievable rock of a husband, and my son, who not only helped me to keep walking, talking and taking Baby Steps at the beginning of My Grief over Robyn, but who influenced me in depths of Intentional Survival-ship that I did not even understand at the time.   Mtch is at the top of that list.♥

Mitch and Bettie frame

ProActively Grieving Helps Heart and Mind !

View pdf Flyer- OK for Reprinting

Turning Loss Into Legacy
Greetings My Compassionate Families

If you have ever felt overwhelming grief and wondered
Then Attending
is a Gentle Gift to Give Yourself

The Event is being hosted by our TCF East Of The River CT Chapter
16 February 2013
Baymont Inn and Suites
20 Taylor Street  Manchester, CT

There is a cut off day of early bird-registration by midnight February 5
to receive special fees
Full and Partial Scholarships are available

Bettie Mitch Alan

I KNOW Mitch and Alan.
They have become my friends and Mitch is actually a member of our Advisory Board ~ the only non-Connecticut person who we invited to our Board.

Each of these men are amazing in their separate workshops, but together, their energy is so strong, so powerful, so profoundly deep that you will be promised a day that will impact you in ways that you can not yet imagine.

Their friendship forged through the loss of their children, Kelly and Ashley.

Mitch is also a bereaved sibling, having experienced the death of his twin sister who left the earth in a horrific car accident.

Mitch and Alan live what they bring to their guests in the gathering.

You can trust these dads.
They “get” deep loss.
They live it…..

This event is NOT  only for those who have lost a child, grandchild or sibling, but for anyone dealing with grief and loss in life.

Bring yourself.
Bring a Friend.
But GO.

Do This for yourself.

PROActive Grieving:  A Day with Mitch and Alan is a combination of Alan’s powerful music and Mitch’s incredible art wrapped around love, laughter, healing and provocative dialogue.

Sending hugs to all,


Forever RobyApril’s Mom