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Archive for December, 2012

In Wake of Newtown Shootings Five Ways to Help Grieving Families After a Child Dies – The Compassionate Friends

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 15, 2012

 Guest Post: The Compassionate Friends

Source: http://www.compassionatefriends.org/Libraries/PDF/Newtown_Press_Release_2012.sflb.ashx

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2012

FROM: Wayne Loder, Public Awareness Coordinator

The Compassionate Friends

(Toll-free) 877-969-0010 / (Weekend) 248-684-4674

In Wake of Newtown Shootings Five Ways to Help Grieving Families After a Child Dies

Oak Brook, IL—When any child dies, it is a tragedy. But when a community, state, and nation is rocked by the deaths of 20 young children and eight adults, this becomes a time for everyone to pull together to help the grieving families.

“Only a parent who has lost a child can truly understand the devastating and life-changing effect this has on the families involved,” says Patricia Loder, Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends (TCF), the nation’s largest non-profit self-help support organization for bereaved families after the death of a child. There are more than 650 chapters in the United States that service all 50 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam.

“It is said that for a parent, when a child dies, the future dies, too,” adds Mrs. Loder, herself a twice bereaved parent, as well as a bereaved sibling. “When this is multiplied by the grief of 20 families that lost young children, as in the Newtown tragedy, it is especially important that the community join together in any way possible to help the families that have been shattered. It’s important to remember that some of the adults who were killed also have parents and siblings who are grieving.”

According to Mrs. Loder, there are some universal pointers bereaved parents and siblings agree friends may want to keep in mind when trying to help the grieving families.

• Don’t try to find magic words that will take away the pain. There aren’t any. A hug, a touch, and the simple words “I’m sorry” can offer the most comfort.

• Don’t be afraid to cry. Those tears are a healthy release both for both you and the family, and a tribute to the child who died.

• Listen to what the parents and siblings have to say. Let them express their anger, their questions, the pain, and the disbelief they may be experiencing. Don’t discourage them from talking about their feelings. Remember that siblings are often considered the “forgotten mourners” and need to have their grief validated, too.

• Be there. Don’t say “call me if there is anything I can do.” That call will probably never come. Think of what the family needs to have done and offer to do specific tasks.

• As time passes, remember the child by sending a card to the family or calling on special days. A bereaved parent’s worst fear is that their child will be forgotten.

One of the most important points friends should remember, adds Mrs. Loder, is that there is no set timetable for grieving. “Some people believe healing starts the moment the family arrives home from the funeral. Bereaved parents and siblings are transformed into different people who will never be the same as they were. Grief doesn’t end in a week or a year, and it may never end. But the pain does get softer in time with the help of friends who care.”

There are 10 Connecticut chapters with the nearest in Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport. The Compassionate Friends National Office is using an emergency fund, created for situations like this, to provide local chapters all grief materials necessary to help the grieving families in Newtown.

To learn more about The Compassionate Friends and its many programs for bereaved families, visit www.compassionatefriends.org and http://www.facebook.com/TCFUSA on Facebook or call toll-free 877-969-0010 during regular week-day office hours.


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Posted in Children Grief Support, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Child, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting® – Sunday, December 9, 2012

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on December 8, 2012

Guest Post from Compassionate Friends

Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting®

Letter from TCF Executive Director on Worldwide Candle Lighting in Annie’s Mailbox December 2, 2012

The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon.

This year’s event will be the 16th Worldwide Candle Lighting. The event grows larger every year thanks to the many people who see the need for services where none have existed. And as the word continues to spread to more of the bereaved who wish to celebrate lives gone too soon by lighting candles in their home, quietly, perhaps just with friends and family.

Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from 146249_WCL12-322x322pixelCompassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

The Worldwide Candle Lighting started in the United States in 1997 as a small Internet observance but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance.

In 2011, information was submitted to TCF’s national website on services in 18 countries outside the United States including 550 services, as this special day continues to grow. TCF has been joined in recent years by chapters of several organizations including MISS, MADD, Parents of Murdered Children, SIDS Network, Gilda’s Club, Boys and Girls Clubs, and BPUSA and for several years services have been held in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. There is no way to know how many hundreds of additional services open to the public are held in the U.S. and around the world each year without the information being sent to us.

The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations were joined in 2011 by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand.

Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF’s national website. In 2011 in that short one day span, more than five thousand messages of love were received and posted from every U.S. state and Washington D.C., every territory, as well as dozens of other countries, with some posts in foreign languages.

Here in the United States, publicity about the event is widespread, being featured over the years in Dear Abby, Annie’s Mailbox, Ann Landers column, Parade Magazine, Guidepostsmagazine, and literally hundreds of U.S. newspapers, dozens of television stations, and numerous websites and hundreds of personal blogs. Information on the Worldwide Candle Lighting and planned memorial candle lighting services (of which we are advised) is posted on TCF’s national website every year as the event nears.

View Dear Abby’s column from December 4, 2011 and read a letter from TCF’s Executive Director Pat Loder about what this event means to those who have suffered the tragic loss of a child.

If no Worldwide Candle Lighting service was held near you this year, please feel free to plan one open to the public this year or next year. You are welcome to use TCF’s “Suggestions to Help Plan a Memorial Service in Conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting©”to help in planning the service. All allied bereavement organizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance. When you firm up plans for your candle lighting, open to the public, please return to this site and submit the event information form so TCF can list your service with the many hundreds held in the United States and around the world. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child(ren) . . . that their light may always shine!

WCL Press Release 10-17-2012

National Media Stories and Videos from before and after the 2012 Worldwide Candle Lighting

For More Holiday Grief Support Resouces, please visit our website at

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Child, Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »