The Compassionate Friends Fairfax Chapter

Supporting Families After the Death of a Child

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All Chapter Meetings are held in person the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Meeting Hall adjacent to Old Historic St. Mary's Church, located at the corner of Rte. 123 (Ox Road) and Fairfax Station Road, Fairfax, VA. (Turn onto Fairfax Station Road from Ox Road, and the church parking lot and meeting hall will be just a short distance on your left.)

Meetings are free and open to parents who have lost a child at any age and from any cause. We also welcome grandparents and siblings (age 18 and over).

Our meetings generally conclude by 9 pm. In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, an email will be sent in advance to notify members.

COVID: As we meet in person, we follow local guidance concerning necessary precautions against COVID. Presently mask wearing is optional for those vaccinated. Seating is staggered for social distancing. Should this change, we will post an update on this site.

Meeting Procedures

A typical meeting has about 10 to 20 participants, sometimes a bit more, who come as couples or individual mothers and fathers, as well as grandparents and adult siblings. With large turnouts, we may break into two groups to facilitate discussion. Our group is usually a mix of those newly bereaved and those further along in their grief. Our children have died at all ages and by all causes, but our focus is on how we feel and cope with the loss regardless of circumstances.

After introductions, we open the meeting with a general discussion topic pertinent to the grief process, but parents are encouraged to also raise any issue they prefer as the meeting progresses. No one is required to speak or share anything unless they want to. Our discussions are considered confidential, and offer a safe space for parents to share their feelings and thoughts, without judgment. We listen to each other and share coping skills that have worked for us. While we learn from each other, we do not prescribe what others should do. None of us are therapists, counsellors, or mental health professionals, we are all simply bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings who support, encourage, and help each other to work through our grief.

On your child's birth month or death month you are welcome to bring photos, scrapbooks, or other memorabilia about your child to the meeting and display them on tables set up for that purpose. At the end of the meeting you may do a 5-minute presentation on your child through speaking or video.

If you would like to attend a meeting:

Please notify the co-chairs listed at the Contact Us tab if possible, or simply show up at the meeting. If you'd like to become a new member you will be asked to fill out a sign-in sheet either at the meeting or online, so you can be placed on the mailing list for monthly newsletters and email reminders of upcoming meetings and special events.

We are so very sorry for your loss, but are glad that you've found our group. Please join us as we share, encourage, and support each other as only those who know the pain of such loss can do. You need not walk alone!