Bereaved families that have experienced the death of a child now have an opportunity to meet with others on a regular basis who have endured similar tragedies.
The Southeast Nebraska chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a national self-help organization for families who have had a child die, will hold a monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Falls City Library, 1400 Stone St.
“This area has long needed a bereavement organization where families could talk about their loss publicly without feeling out-of-place,” said new chapter leader Sally Merz.
“After your child dies, no one wants to talk with you about your child probably because they are afraid of making you feel bad. The irony is that talking about your child helps you — no one wants their child forgotten. And studies have proven that tears are an emotional release that helps you to feel better.”
The Compassionate Friends is a national non-profit organization with nearly 650 chapters in the United States and locations in every state. Chapters welcome immediate family members to attend including adult siblings. Meetings are for all families regardless of race, religious orientation, economic background, or the cause and age of the child at death, from pre-birth up.
“The death of a child turns the whole family upside down,” Mrs. Merz said.
“Through our shared experience, we will be able to talk about the loss and learn coping techniques that will help us in our journey toward the positive resolution of our grief.”
TCF meetings last approximately two hours. Those attending will be able to discuss what happened to their child or anything related to their grief. The choice to remain silent is also respected. Occasionally there will be a special topic or speaker for part of the meeting. Refreshments are also served.
The chapter is seeking grief books to create a lending library, and will have a selection of handout brochures on topics related to the death of a child. There are no fees or dues charged to attend, although love gifts are accepted in memory of the children of the chapter and will be used to publish a chapter newsletter, further outreach in the community, and cover other expenses.
“The Compassionate Friends welcomes the Southeast Nebraska chapter, No. 2460” says TCF Executive Director Alan Pedersen. “When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. TCF provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family. The Southeast Nebraska chapter will help us toward that mission.”
For more information about local chapter meetings or to make a donation, call Sally at 402-245-0483. For more information about the national organization, call toll-free 877-969-0010, or visit www.compassionatefriends.org and www.facebook.com/TCFUSA on the web.