Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk to someone before attending a meeting?

We require all new members to speak to one of the co-leaders prior to attending your first meeting. We will obtain contact information and discuss your unique situation to determine how we can best support you prior to your first virtual or in person meeting. In addition, available resources will be discussed during this time.

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 their child’s death may decide not to come back until they’re more ready. This is a personal decision.

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.
My child died seven 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 for 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.
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.
What is a monthly meeting like?
We sit in a circle and begin with reading The Compassionate Friends credo for parents and when relevant for grandparents and siblings. We read the meeting guidelines which provides for confidentiality and respectful discussion. Each parent or family member, if they wish, introduces themselves briefly. Throughout the meeting, no one is required to speak, listening is valued as well. After introduction, there is a discussion often open-ended but sometimes around a specific issue. Our discussion ends between 8-8:15. Refreshments are provided and some choose to stay for a short informal social time. Others leave right after the discussion.

Sometimes a meeting may include viewing a video or listening to a CD. We usually will do something special to remember our children during meetings for the months of May (Mother’s Day) and June (Father’s Day) and during the holiday months of November and December. Also, at each meeting we give members who have their child’s birthday or anniversary date during that month some extra time to share a picture or special memory.

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. By attending three meetings you will also be able to observe the different dynamics of the group as different members attend and share.
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 so they can be there for the next person who walks through the doors seeking help.
Does it matter if I am religious or not?
The Compassionate Friends has no religious affiliation. You will find TCF members are very tolerant
of a variety of views. After the death of a child, many priorities, as well as values, change.
My child died from _____. Will I still be welcome?
Yes. All families that have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause, are welcome.
Do men attend meetings?
Yes. Many chapters are divided almost evenly between men and women while others are not. Men grieve, too, and are welcome to attend meetings for support.
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.
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 (including pre-birth), 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.
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 can only include adult siblings in our group meetings. Some chapters have sibling groups for children twelve or older; check with the national chapter website. We are willing to help find support for younger siblings but currently do not have ongoing resources or direct support for younger siblings in our chapter.
Is there a charge to attend?
There is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting. Our chapters rely on voluntary donations from members, friends, and the community at large.
Do I need a reservation before I come to a meeting?
No reservations are needed. Just come whenever you feel up to it.
TCF Monadnock