Mature siblings (not young children, please) are always welcomed to attend The Compassionate Friends East Of The River Chapter support meetings.Â Â 5 of the 7 founding chapter members are also bereaved siblings, adoptive or step siblings.Â As our meeting size increases we hope to be able to have our siblings break into smaller groups for a portion of each meeting to support each other with understanding of the issues particular to the bereavement of siblings.
In November 2011, TCF East Of the River CT added aÂ Siblings Support Facebook PageÂ and began aÂ campaignÂ to connect siblingsÂ electronically.
When Dave Evans, Bettie-Jeanne Rivard-Darby and Â Jim Darby founded the TCF East of the River CT Chapter, the intent was to offer strong sibling support.
We have found that siblings have many challenges with attending the physical meetings.Â Part of it, in our chapter, is the age of our bereaved siblings.Â Most of our bereaved siblings are parents themselves with young children.Â Getting to a meeting is often a Big Challenge for this group.Â Others in our sibling group are away at collage, living out of state or working and just aren’t able to make meetings.
There are siblings who prefer not to talk in front of their parents who also might be attending the same meeting- or just personally feel as if they don’t “belong” in the meeting room among parents grieving.
When siblings do attend meetings alongside of bereaved parents, it has truly helped the parents understand more of their surviving child’s experience, even when the sibling who is sharing has not been their own child.Â Surviving siblings who have attended these meetings often get a better understanding of what their parents are dealing with; of how it is from THAT Perspective.
When several siblings are present at a meeting, we try to give them time alone as a sub-group to discuss issues, challenges and emotions that are unique to the siblingÂ experience.
Our goal is to connect siblings to each other, in person and electronically. Â With this connection they can make plans to attend a physical meeting together or share by text, Facebook, chat sessions and email.
No one truly understands a bereaved sibling better than those who share the loss of their own sibling. Â To become part of the TCF Sibling On Line Group contact Chapter Leader Bettie-Jeanne (who is also a bereaved sibling) at Â TCFEastOfTheRiverCT@gmail.comÂ or personal email at Â DreamView@aol.comÂ Â Subject: Â TCF EOTR Sibling Group On Line.
The TCF EOTR CT Chapter offers a safe, private, compassionate environment to siblings who could use support; whether it is occasional, around a specific trigger,Â or on-going.
In addition, on-line and chat room support is available through The Compassionate Friends at a National level, as are booklets, sibling materials, and special workshops during the NationalÂ and RegionalÂ Conferences.â™¥
We are brought together by the deaths of our brothers and sisters.
Open your hearts to us, but have patience with us.
Sometimes we will need the support of our friends.
At other times we need our families to be there.
Sometimes we must walk alone, taking our memories with us,
continuing to become the individuals we want to be.
We cannot be our dead brother or sister;
however, a special part of them lives on with us.
When our brothers and sisters died, our lives changed.
We are living a life very different from what we envisioned,
and we feel the responsibility to be strong even when we feel weak.
Yet we can go on because we understand better than many others
the value of family and the precious gift of life.
Our goal is not to be the forgotten mourners that we sometimes are,
but to walk together to face our tomorrows as surviving siblings of
The Compassionate Friends.