Frequently Asked Questions

If I attend a meeting, do I have to talk?

No.  No-one is required to join in the topic under discussion. People cope with their grief in different ways and we respect this.  We also understand that it can be difficult to speak when our grief is fresh.  

Is there a fee for attendance? 

We do not charge any fees for attending our meetings.  We rely on voluntary donations from members, friends and the community.

Can I bring a friend with me to meetings?

Yes.  However, we ask that everyone, members and friends, respect our confidentiality.  It is important for us to be able to share freely within the group and to do this we need to be sure that our confidences will be respected.

My husband will not come with me. May I come alone?

Of course.  We all deal with our grief differently and some people are unable to share their grief, even among those who are going through the same process.  Husbands are also welcome to attend without their wives.

What happens at a meeting?

Each meeting is different.  The dynamic of the group changes depending on the participants.  We usually follow a format where we introduce ourselves and our children before focusing on a topic for discussion.  Occasionally we invite guest speakers along.  Sometimes we simply share where we are, what we are feeling and what we are doing to help ourselves.

My child was an adult and didn't live at home. Can I still attend a meeting?

Our meetings are for all parents, grandparents, siblings and/or primary caretakers who have lost a child from any cause.  We believe that our children are always our children, whatever their age.

My child died of AIDS. Will I still be welcome?

Yes. We do not discriminate in terms of circumstances of death.

I have no religious affiliation any more.  Will this be a problem if I attend?

We are not a religious organisation and are not affiliated to any organised religion.  Our members may or may not be associated with a particular religion. But you will find that the attitudes of the members is generally very open to widely differing opinions. The death of a child often brings about a change in outlook and values.

Do I need to call to confirm my attendance before a meeting?

No.  You may come whenever you feel like it.

My child died several years ago. Is it too late for me to join?

Absolutely not.  Grief work takes many forms and some people may not have felt the for a support group at the time of their child's death.  Some people may not have known about us at the time.  You may join The Compassionate Friends at whatever stage of grief you are in.

We have other children at home who may benefit from a support group.  May we bring them with us?

Teenage and adult siblings are welcome to attend but the meetings are not always appropriate for young children.  If you are unsure, feel free to call our hotline and discuss your situation.