What I Learned From Compassionate Friends


Once a month I gather with other bereaved parents for a meeting of The Compassionate Friends. The first time I went to that meeting was very hard. Not only was it hard to come face to face with my own loss in front of strangers, it was so hard to be in that room. You could feel the weight of the pain as all of us shouldered a common grief. To be honest I wasn’t sure I would go back again, but I did. There is something healing about being in a room with someone who lost a child ten, twenty, or thirty yeas ago. Their life continued on without their child, but they still have tears for them.

I’ve learned a lot about grief from meeting with this group of people. I’ve learned about survival, finding new meaning, and compassion. It is not uncommon for a new person to walk through those doors. Fresh in their grief with tears they think will never end, I am reminded of my first time. In that meeting a lady gave me a hug and said, “I’m so sorry to meet you in a meeting like this, but I’m so glad you are here.”

Compassionate Friends of Northeast Louisiana meets on the first Thursday of each month  except December at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Monroe, LA at 6:30 p.m. Click HERE to go to our Facebook page. Click HERE to go to our website.

Another important thing I learned about grief in that meeting was that the jagged pain I was feeling would not always be that harsh. There are few waking moments without the realization of our loss, but it does not hurt the way it did at first. I am not sure we could have lived with that.

There have been many helpers along the journey of grief I’ve been walking. Spending time with counselor James Bagley was helpful. My church family, close friends, the immense support that came from the online community, the special care that Royce and Carol Ogle showered us with, the GriefShare series. Craig Hicks, who called me every day for six months. And of course the One who carried us along, our Abba. I think it takes a lot of compassion from many resources to make it. Our Compassionate Friends leaders French and Marilyn Smith were a big part of that.

So tomorrow night I’ll walk into that room looking for the new people, the broken and bleeding ones who have come to what they hope will be a triage to tend to their wounded hearts. And we will do our best. It will not be enough, but we already know that.

“Each person’s grief is like all other people’s grief; each person’s grief is like some other person’s grief; and each person’s grief is like no other person’s grief.” ~ J. William Worden

Would you say a prayer for the broken-hearted parents of the world today? Thanks for reading.  John

There is an immense selection of resources for working through grief.

A few blogs I really like…

Normal Died With Max

Grieving Dads Project

The Grief Toolbox

Some books for your Kindle…

$9.39 Recovering from Losses in Life H. Norman Wright

$3.47 Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright

$4.49 Good Grief 50th Anniversary edition by Granger E. Westberg

$9.99 Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy by Bill Dunn
(Available free via daily mails from http://griefshare.org)

$9.78 A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry Sittser

$9.59 Grieve Like a Man by Jonathan Fann

$9.89 Confessions of a Grieving Christian by Zig Ziglar

$9.39 Traveling through Grief: Learning to Live Again after the Death of a Loved One by Robert C. De Vries

$6.89 Holding On to Hope: A pathway through suffering to the heart of God by Nancy Guthrie

$5.99 Death and the Life After by Billy Graham

.99 Poems to Help You Grieve a Loss by Debra A. Kuebler

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