Frequently Asked Questions
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 attend a meeting.
Sometimes family members come shortly after
the child has died while others wait a few
weeks. Some who attend shortly after the child's death may decide
to come back when they are more ready, while
others welcome the support right away. It is
not uncommon to see parents come even months
or years after a loss.
Do I need a reservation before I come to a meeting?
No reservations are needed. Just come whenever you feel up to it.
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 the grief is so fresh and
intensely painful. There is no pressure to
speak or share unless you wish to.
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.
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?
Yes, if you feel you need additional
support, you may bring a friend for the
first time only, that you attend a meeting.
After that you will be embraced by those who
have lost a child and will lend support in
helping you to feel that you do not walk
alone. It is important for us to be able to
share freely within our group with those who
have experienced and truly understand the
loss of a child.
Do men attend meetings?
Yes. Many chapters are divided
evenly between men and women while others
are not. The Fairfax Chapter has several men
in the group who help other men understand
how their grief is different.
What happens at a meeting?
You are warmly welcomed and given an
opportunity to speak with other parents who
have lost a child. We share a brief
introduction, often split into two groups to
share our thoughts and feelings or discuss a
topic of the month relating to loss. Again
no pressure to speak, listenting is fine.
Meetings start promptly at 7:30 and end by
9:00 pm. If it is your child's birth/death
month, parents may make a short presentation
with photos or a video following the
My child died from ________. Will I still be welcome?
All families who have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause, are welcome.
My views on beliefs, religion,
etc. have changed. Can people at a meeting accept that?
The Compassionate Friends has no
religious affiliation. You will find TCF
members are not judgmental of any views. After the death of a child, many priorities, as well as values, change.
I notice the meeting is held at a church. Do I have to belong to a church to attend?
No, all faiths are welcome.
While TCF has no religious affiliation, chapter meetings are held in a wide variety of locations depending upon what is available in
I have babysitting problems. Would it
be all right to bring my young child with me?
Childrern should be age 16 and over
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. Some
parents don't feel the need for a support
group until years after the death of a
child. It's perfectly fine 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. Many
are so thankful for the helpful support they
received when they lost their child that
they stay to give back to others who are
Why is it that TCF recommends that I attend three meetings before deciding if it's for me?
Often, the first meeting can be
difficult as it brings emotions to the surface.
It may also be hard to lsiten to others
stories on their loss. Attending three meetings gives you time enough to allow your emotions to even out and to understand that in sharing there is healing.