Going to a Meeting for the First Time
No one is required to talk at any meeting. We understand how difficult that can be when grief is either days or weeks old, or months or years. We listen to what other parents have to say and respect that they have a right to feel what they feel. We know that just as everyone of us is unique, so is our way of grieving. This includes grieving in silence. You will find that many people need to express their feelings, while others gain strength from listening and knowing they are in the company of others who feel as they do, even if they cannot or choose not to express it. The meetings are meant to be above all a safe place to simply feel what you are feeling in the company of others you know understand.
What happens at a Meeting?
The monthly sharing meeting is facilitated by a grieving parent, usually farther along in their grieving process. There may be a topic that all can relate to for the meeting. The meeting starts by each parent being invited to introduce themselves. This is followed by a time where parent share their thoughts and feelings and listening to others. Once again, no one is required to speak and often some of the most meaningful moments involve silence.
Does it matter how long ago it was that my child died?
All meetings are meant to address grief, not how long ago the death of your dear child was. Grief can be as intense years after the fact as it is days after.
Must I contribute time or money to the meeting(s)?
There is no fee to attend our meetings as we believe we have all paid the ultimate price when our children died. You are not required to provide any volunteer efforts unless you wish to do so. Some parents and extended family choose of their own free will to donate money in memory of their children
Are the meetings for couples or can parents come without a partner?
Attending as a couple or alone is entirely the choice of each parent. The purpose of the meeting is to meet the needs of individual parents. There has always been a mix of parents who come as couples, parents who come alone and single parents.
Can I bring other family members or friends for support?
Should you wish to bring someone to support you at the meeting you are most welcome. However, we ask that you do not bring surviving siblings of any age to the meetings. You will be advised at your initial contact with the group that this goes against our philosophy to have surviving siblings in attendance. We can provide you with information on resources in the community who provide grief support for your surviving children.
I am uncomfortable saying how or why my child died, will this be a problem?
If you want to talk about how and/or why they died, that is your choice and we respect that. As parents who all know what the death of a child feels like, we care about you and how you hurt, that is why we are there.
I am worried that religion is an issue for me after this death, does that matter?
We are a non-denominational group. We respect everyone’s right to have a set of beliefs that make sense for themselves. This includes if those beliefs have been shaken and you now question whatever you did or did not believe. You may feel free to share your beliefs in the sharing circle, religious or other, without judgement or interruption to what you are sharing.
Do I have to let you know I am coming?
The meetings are on a drop-in basis. If you wish to speak to someone before attending for any reason, please send an E-Mail to us and someone will contact you back to answer questions you might have.
How does the Sharing Group work?
Rules of our Sharing Group
- We have rules so that we know what we can expect from each other while we share an intimate and painful part of our lives.
- We are courteous to everyone. We are expressing something very personal; it is about ourselves, our child and what we feel.
- We give each other a chance to talk, without interruption, in this safe and understanding group; we do not touch each other even in kindness. When we are done speaking, we simply say, “that is all” and the next person can begin to speak if they choose to.
- While we may feel anger and frustration we do not attempt to degrade anyone.
- We are all free to hold any beliefs that make sense of our world and how we fit in it. We also respect the rights of others to follow their own beliefs; even if we think those beliefs may be misplaced.
- We will, to the best that we are able, not use language that is meant to upset or offend anyone.
- Lastly, we recognize that we are all here about our child, whose death is of the utmost importance to us and whose loss we feel so very intensely. It is because of this that we know we can expect absolute confidentiality from all present, and that nothing we say in our Sharing Group will be repeated to any other person, as we share this special part of ourselves.