There is a group of people who get together on the first Tuesday evening of each month to share their stories and support each other. These groups meet all over the world on a regular basis. They are The Compassionate Friends and they are all people who have lost a child.
The format is much the same each meeting; each person says their name and what happened to their child. The voices move in a circle. Hi, my name is blah and my son died in an aeroplane accident aged 31; my daughter died of cancer at 22; my daughter was hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing at 13; my son died from a prescription overdose at 19; my son committed suicide at 22; my daughter fell off her horse at 19; my son died whilst travelling overseas at 19; my daughter died in a car accident at 15; and my daughter drowned in a tsunami at 6 years of age.
Sitting there listening to the stories is heartbreaking because it does not matter if the child died two years ago or 20, the parent always has tears in his or her eyes when they state what happened to their child. It doesn’t matter at what age the child died either because they are all someone’s child.
Then we go around the circle again, listening as each tells what has been happening in their lives and how they are feeling about the loss of their child. Each person is different and each person has a different story. We all listen because that is why we are there, to listen to each other when other people will not or cannot listen to our stories.
It is a horrible experience to know that there are so many people with reasons to be so sad. But the experience of sharing pain and hurt is a kind and generous experience.
We are The Compassionate Friends.