Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost or membership fee to join The Compassionate Friends?
There is no charge for newsletters, membership or meetings.

Who runs local chapters of TCF and who facilitates meetings?
Bereaved families... volunteers who have lost a child of any age from any cause both run chapters and facilitate meetings.

Is there any religious affiliation with The Compassionate Friends?
No. Some members have a strong faith in various faiths while others have no faith. Religion is reflective of personal values and faith- each individual will have the right to share how their faith is lack thereof has influences them in coping with the death of their child.

If I attend a meeting, do I have to speak?
No. You may speak, but it is not required.

How often are the meetings?
Parent meetings are once a month.

How long are the meetings?
Meetings are approximately 2 hours long.

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. Some people who attend shortly after the child's death may decide not to come back until they're more ready. This is a personal decision.

Why is it that TCF recommends that I attend three meetings before deciding if it's for me?
Often, the first meeting brings a lot of emotions to the surface and this may make the first meeting difficult. Some say that they bring home the pain of others after listening to their stories. Attending three meetings gives you time enough to allow your emotions to even out and to understand that in sharing there is healing.

My child was an adult and didn't live at home. Can I still go to a meeting?
Chapter meetings are open to all families that have experienced the death of a child, at any age, from any cause. Regardless of our child's age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that . . . our children.

My spouse won't come with me. Can I come alone?
Yes. We all grieve differently and your spouse or significant other may not be ready to take part just yet . . . or ever.

Can I bring a friend with me the first time for support?
Of course, you can bring a friend, but we ask that they, as well as all members, respect each other's privacy. It is important for us to be able to share freely within our group and be sure confidences will be respected.

I have babysitting problems. Would it be all right to bring my five-year-old with me?
While we understand the difficulties of finding child care, we must ask that any children attending with you be old enough to understand the meeting discussions and not be upset by them. Some chapters have sibling groups for children twelve or older; check with your local chapter.