I know a young mom and dad who carry with them a stuffed Minnie Mouse, which emotionally connects them to their deceased Baby Girl.  Sometimes they take photos of themselves with their now named “Makenzie Mouse”, as if they are taking family shots with their little girl who will never get to be in a family photo.  They have been known to put a lobster bib on Miss Mouse, symbolic of bringing their Baby Girl out to dinner with them.

People, even members of their family, think that they are CRAZY.

They aren’t Crazy, they are Just Grieving.

They know that the stuffed toy isn’t their daughter.  They know, in a hard and painful reality much too harsh for those who don’t live it to understand, that their little one is now cremains in an urn sitting in the room that was intended to be her nursery.  They know that their first born will never go on a family trip, or get to be read stories to, have a baptism, or a first birthday party…

They KNOW.

When they bring their stuffed Makenzie Mouse (a nickname for their little Baby Girl) with them places, they KNOW that it is not their living breathing Baby Girl, because she never had a chance to do either.  It doesn’t matter if there will be other children to share their lives, THIS CHILD matters, IS SPECIAL, IS IMPORTANT and will ALWAYS, ALWAYS be their child. They might carry a stuffed toy, bringing comfort to them, for as long as they want to, but they ALWAYS, and will ALWAYS, carry their deceased little girl in their hearts.

Their daughter’s body ended.
They KNOW that.|

But their relationship with their daughter didn’t end.
Their love for their daughter didn’t end.
Their dreams for their daughter’s should-have-been future remain in every fiber of their pores.

And this is the way it is, Every Day, for bereaved parents.

The bodies of our loved children may be lying in breathless repose on silks in a casket buried under sodden earth, or cremains worn in a pendant around our necks, and the rest of the “civilian world” may view them as Dead, Gone and No Longer, but they Remain Alive in our memories, in our dreams, in our desire and in our hearts.  They are still active parts of our conscious thoughts and decisions.  We think about them every day, just as we would if their lungs still shared the same air on earth we breathe.  It isn’t just missing them on their birth dates or their death dates or every family gathering; they are in our blood, in our love, in every thought behind the thoughts, behind our smiles and our tears; they are just as much as part of us as if they lived.

We ARE, after all, their parents for as Long as We Live,
not just as long as they did.
Makenzie mouse



If you are the parent, sibling, grandparent, friend of a deceased loved one whom you would like to remember and honor
join us for
Connecticut 3rd Annual Statewide Walk to Remember
FREE Day of Community and Caring
Sunday July 21, 2013
Center Springs Park
Manchester, CT
check-in at 11:00
Walk begins at 12:00
FREE Cookout immediately following
Register NOW
Photo T-Shirts are available to RESERVE (ORDER) NOW
Learn More

Walk To Remember is a beautiful statewide tribute to the memory of children taken too soon and the strength of those they leave behind.
But it’s so much more than just a shared walk.
From the pot luck picnic to the butterfly release, music to memory boards, it’s a day to celebrate the healing power of the human spirit.

Walk to Remember ~ Coming Together In Strength, Love and Caring

At our last monthly The Compassionate Friends East of the River monthly meeting a newly bereaved grandfather spoke quietly, but strongly.  Living outside of theUnited States, he had blessedly made it to Connecticut in time to cradle his ailing grandson in his arms.  Baby Luke had lived only a short 5 months and all of it in the Nic-U, but he made an impact on the lives around him.  His family aches from his loss only a year ago.  As his Grandfather shared his emotions, all were filled with rapt and reverent silence.  It was his first, and perhaps only, time attending a Compassionate Friends meeting.  But he found tremendous value in attending with his wife, his daughter and her spouse.  He held up his hand, fingers spread apart.  Each finger, he expressed, represented each of us in The Compassionate Friends support group.  We each were there, he explained, separate and yet connected.  Then he made a fist and said that this was all of us together, More Powerful, More Capable and filled with Strength!

How right he is!

As bereaved parents, grandparents, siblings, most of us can find ways to slowly survive after the death of a ‘child’ in our family, whether or not we ever attend a The Compassionate Friends Meeting.  Life plugs along and goes on, whether or not we remain passive unwilling participants or we find ways to slowly come back to wanting to live a fulfilling life again.  But together, through our relationships built through The Compassionate Friends, we learn not only that we are not alone, but that we are not crazy in our emotions and experiences following the death of someone who was part of us.  Alongside the others in our new Compassionate Friends Family, we find strength….strength to go on in the darkest and most horrible time in our lives…strength to allow the tears to flow, the laughter to return, the memories to be shared.

One can survive the death of their child or sibling without ever attending the peer-to-peer support group, but to sit along side of others who “get it”, who we don’t have to mask with, who understand our deepest, most scary emotions, without us barely having to say a word, is like The Fist.  We become connected to others, and through that connection comes a vital strength and possibilities of “MORE”…We learn, together, albeit very slowly, that there Can Be More; even though for the first few years following the death of our child or sibling, most of us might wonder how life will ever be More again, or even why we would want More.  We are all so singularly fractured after the death that rebuilding a life seems not only daunting, but, often unwanted.  But with the others next to us, supporting us, caring for us, experiencing with us, we begin to regain that strength….like the fist held up by Luke’s grandfather.  The journey is never good, never easy, never pleasurable, but alongside of our Compassionate Friends Family, it is less horrible then if we were alone.

Every year at the Annual Walk to Remember, bereaved parents, grandparents, siblings, family, friends, as well as community leaders and supportive others come together like the fingers of that first.  This year The East Of the River CT Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will be hosting the 2nd Annual Statewide Walk to Remember on Sunday July 15.  The Walk is held concurrently in the same month as the National Walk to Remember ®, this year held inCosta Mesa,CA.  Patterned after the National Walk, which was created by THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS in 2002, as a symbolic way to show the love that bereaved families carry for the children they mourn, our local walk provides 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.  The Connecticut Walk isn’t just about THE WALK.  After the gentle 1.5 mile stroll through Center Springs Park and a few blocks of both business and residential streets of Manchester, our East Of The River CT chapter provides FREE burgers and hotdogs; families contribute to pot luck, there are Memory Boards to share photos and stories of loved ones, time to sit and talk, sharing memories not only of their deaths, but of their Lives.  Peaceful, yet inspiring music adds a comforting backdrop.  The afternoon ends about 3:00 with a brief Remembrance Ceremony and the release of butterflies.

Both The Walk to Remember and our regular The Compassionate Friends Monthly Meetings reaffirm that WE NEED NOT WALK ALONE as bereaved families.  Like the fingers that come together to make the fist, as Luke’s grandfather reminded us, we derive a strength from being Together.


As hosted by
The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT Chapter
July 15, 2012 Rain or Shine
(butterfly release will be postponed is case of inclement weather)
CenterSpringsPark –Manchester,Connecticut
Pre-registration requested at
Check in and on-site late registration  10:00 am    Walk 11:00 am
Cookout begins about 12:30
Remembrance Ceremony and Butterfly Release about 2:00 / 2:30
Park reserved for fishing, conversation and more until 4:00
Personalized Walk To Remember T Shirts available by pre-order only

Donations will be accepted Day of the Walk
and can also be made on line through our Team
On the safe
FRIENDS HELPING FRIENDS® On-Line Virtual Fund–Raising Walk Site

EVERYONE is invited!

♥    Bereaved Families, their friends and support
♥    Community Leaders
♥  Social, Medical, Religious Personnel
♥ Any one who would like to attend the National WALK TO REMEMBER® but won’t be able to make it to Costa Mesa this year
♥ All Ten Connecticut TCF Chapters – Their Leaders, Members, Family and Friends
♥  TCF Chapters in all surrounding states
♥  Anyone who has ever lost a loved one

Pre-registration is requested


July 9, 2011
The Compassionate Friends East Of The River CT. Chapter
Connecticut’s Walk To Remember is being held in conjunction with the
National The Compassionate Friends Walk to Remember,
this year held on July 17 in Minnesota.

Wondering what YOU can do to Help?

Join Our Virtual Walk Team ~ Holding Hands Hugging Hearts
Our Goal Is To Have At Least 10 Members Join Our Team ~ We Are Only Half Way There!
Send Emails To Family And Friends Requesting A Donation Through The Secure Website TCF Walk to Remember (follow the link for directions on how to  join)

Help Us Raise Funds!  Our Goal Is $5,000.00- We Are About Half Way There!

CREATE your own WALK TEAM in honor of a loved one!

The More People Who Physically Walk, The More, And More Widespread, Publicity We May Receive.  This Helps To Raise Public Awareness, Making It Easier For Those In Need To Find Us During The Darkest Days Of Their Lives.
We Need Someone To Make Follow Up Calls To All Of The Other Statewide Chapters, Inviting Them To Join Us.

We Aren’t Making Any Profit On The T-Shirts, So It Isn’t About Fund-raising – It Is About Looking More Uniform, Which Will Look Better In The Photos.  We Will Be Using Photos On The Website And For Future Outreach.

We Need People Willing To Contact Newspapers Statewide To Get The Word Out About The Walk.  We Have Press Releases Ready For Submission.  We Just Need Volunteers To Deliver our Already Written Press Releases To Various Newspapers And Follow Up.
BLOG! Using Strong Keywords!
Facebook Daily!
Tweet Daily!
We Need To Create And Distribute Packets To Area Hospice, Pediatricians, Funeral Homes, Doctors, Other Bereavement Support Groups.

DAY OF THE WALK –Volunteers Needed to:
Man the table”, make sure everyone has filled out and signed the registration form.
Make Sure Everyone Has Water
Help With Set Up, Tear Down, Clean Up
Help With Cooking
Pick Up Any Butterflies Ordered From MAGIC WINGS in Deerfield, Ma

We Need Lots And Lots Photos Of The Walk, The Butterfly Release, The Picnic, The T-Shirts, The Signs, The Emotion, The Families

Baked Good, Cookies, Cupcakes – Foods To Share And Snack On – (carefully marked for anyone with allergies)
POT LUCK PICNIC- Contributions– We Are Supplying The Burgers And Dogs, But Need Salads, Desserts, Favorite Shared Entrées
COOLERS FILLED WITH LOTS OF ICE – Health conscious and Health Department mandated, we need to keep food COLD!

Send An EmailWith Your Idea Or Skills  Subject: VOLUNTEER
Check Back Daily To Check For New Needs