The Compassionate Friends Support Groups offer the opportunity for bereaved parents and siblings to meet in a safe environment with others who have ‘been there’, who understand and care.
Facilitators are Deborah for Parents and Tracey facilitates the support groups for siblings.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please call our message bank number below at least 24 hours prior, to advise that you WILL be attending a meeting. Our facilitators travel long distances and need to know that there will be someone attending the friendship group. Please phone: 0456 820 133 (Message Bank). If this is your first time attending a meeting, please call our message bank and someone will arrange to meet you when you arrive.
Monthly support groups are held at:
7:30 pm 1st Wednesday of each month
Cumberland Park Community Centre,
390 Goodwood Rd, Cumberland Park
Parking is available at the rear of the Centre, with additional parking nearby.
What to Expect
If you are considering attending your first meeting, we extend our hearts and loving thoughts, for we are bereaved as you and found it difficult to attend our first meeting. A TCF member will be there to welcome you and put you at ease. We want to encourage you to reach out in your own time and in your own way, you do not have to speak, although you will have the opportunity. It may not be easy, as feelings may be overwhelming.
You may ask yourself: “What will it be like? Who will be there? What do they do? Will it make me worse? What will people think of me? Will it make me cry?” These are all normal reactions. We hope that by reaching out and attending a support group meeting you will find some comfort in meeting other parents, who like you, have lost a child. It may not be easy, don’t worry, we’ll bring the tissues. You are not alone, together we will make it for we are The Compassionate Friends.
A friendly atmosphere, tea and coffee are provided.
Who can attend: Any grieving parent, grandparent, or adult sibling who wants to meet with a friend and learn how others are coping.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I go to a meeting, will I have to talk?
No one is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult that can be when our grief is so fresh. We do ask that you listen, however, and don’t interrupt while another member is sharing their story.
How do I know if it’s too soon after my child’s death to attend?
No one can say with certainty when is the right time to come to a meeting. Sometimes family members come shortly after the child has died while other times they wait longer. This is a personal decision.
My child was an adult and didn’t live at home. Can I still go to a meeting?
Meetings are open to all families who have experienced the death of a son or daughter, at any age, from any cause. Regardless of age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that…our children.
Is there a charge to attend?
There is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting.
What happens at a meeting?
Most groups start with an informal time for welcoming people and having a cup of tea or coffee. The formal part of the meeting then begins with the facilitator speaking and perhaps reading a piece of poetry or a short story, after which time we introduce ourselves in turn and share our thoughts and feelings. At this time you may share as much or as little as you need. General discussion then follows and groups usually end with another cuppa for those members who wish to stay.
Can I bring a friend with me?
If you need a friend to drive you to the group, or you need their reassurance, they are welcome to attend. It is important for us to be able to share freely within our group and be sure confidences will be respected. Your friend would need to accept this confidentiality.
My partner says they won’t come with me. Can I come alone?
Yes. We all grieve differently and they may not be ready to take part just yet…or ever. And, likewise, many parents attend meetings without their partners.
Do men attend meetings?
Yes. Some meetings are divided almost evenly between men and women while others are not. Men grieve, too, and are most welcome to attend meetings for support.
Religion doesn’t matter to me anymore. Can people at a meeting accept that?
TCF is committed to welcoming and supporting bereaved parents and siblings, whatever their religious or spiritual beliefs.
Do I need to speak to someone before I come to a meeting?
If possible, it would be good to ring the message bank to say you would like to attend so the facilitator can expect you but if you do not feel able please just come along.
My child died several years ago, and I postponed my grief work. Now it’s catching up with me. Is it too late to come now?
We all grieve differently. Many parents don’t feel the need of a support group until years after the death of a child. It’s all right to come whenever you are ready, whether it’s soon after your child’s death, months later or years later.
How long do people come to meetings?
People attend meetings until they no longer feel a need. Some attend just a few meetings while others come for years. Some are so thankful for the helpful support they’ve received that they stay to help in chapter leadership or volunteering in some other way so they can be there for the next person who walks through the door seeking help.