2012 Candlelight Memorial Walk
Sunday December 9th at
Green Valley Park
Meet at 6:40pm, Walk begins
precisely at 7:00pm
Call 928-978-1492 for more
mission of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is to assist families toward the positive
resolution of grief following the death of a child at any age and to provide
information to help others be supportive.
a national nonprofit, self-help organization with almost 600 local chapters. Click
the Rim Country Chapter location and monthly meeting schedule.
Our meetings are open to all family members who are grieving the death of a
child. There is no religious affiliation
and no dues or fees. There is a free monthly newsletter and each chapter offers
a free lending library.
We offer a
safe place for bereaved parents, grandparents
and siblings to meet and talk freely about your child and your grief issues. No
one is required to speak, but non-judgmental listening is expected.
are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
For more information, call (928) 978-1492
information about The Compassionate Friends, visit TCF's national Web site at
A guide to our Web site
It All Began
The Compassionate Friends was founded in Coventry, England
in 1969, following the deaths of two young boys, Billy Henderson and Kenneth Lawley, the
previous spring. Billy and Kenneth had died just three days apart in the Coventry and
Warwickshire Hospital where Rev. Simon Stephens was Assistant to the Chaplain. Simon
mentioned Billy's death to Iris and Joe Lawley, and the Lawleys decided to send flowers to
Billy's funeral. The signed the card simply, "Kenneth's parents," realizing that
the Hendersons would know who they were.
Bill and Joan Henderson then invited the Lawleys over for
tea, and an immediate bond was formed as the two couples spoke freely about their boys,
sharing their memories and the dreams that had died with Billy and Kenneth. They continued
to get together regularly, and young Rev. Stephens, then only 23, encouraged them to
invite other newly bereaved parents to join them. In 1969 another grieving mother accepted
their invitation to meet with Simon and the two couples. They decided to organize as a
self-help group and actively begin reaching out to newly bereaved parents in their
community. Because the word "compassionate" kept coming up, this new
organization was called "The Society of the Compassionate Friends."
Simon became a chaplain in the British Royal Navy in the
70's. He was met by bereaved parents at ports around the world, and he helped them to
develop their own chapters. TCF had become well-known through U.K. and U.S.A. editions of
such magazines as Time and Good Housekeeping. Paula and Arnold Shamres of Florida read
Simon's interview in Time Magazine and invited him to visit them in Florida and speak to
bereaved parents there. He did, and the Shamres subsequently founded the first U.S.
chapter in 1972. Word of the organization spread rapidly through interest generated by the
Phil Donahue Show and the columns of Dear Abby and Ann Landers.
The Compassionate Friends was incorporated in the United
States as a non-profit organization in 1978.
In 1989 The Compassionate Friends of Great Britain
dedicated a plaque commemorating the founding of the organization, at the Coventry and
Warwickshire Hospital where TCF had begun. The plaque was unveiled by their patron,
Countess Mountbatten, herself a bereaved parent.
Then in November, 1994 Queen Elizabeth presented Iris
Lawley with a medal, The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of her
work on behalf of TCF.
There are now Compassionate Friends chapters
in every state in the United Statesalmost 600 altogetherand hundreds of
chapters in Canada, Great Britain and other countries throughout the world. In the United
States, chapters are open to all bereaved siblings and other family members who are
grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause.
We need not walk alone. We are
The Compassionate Friends. We reach out to each other with
love, with understanding and with hope. Our children have died at all ages and from
many different causes, but our love for our children unites us. Your pain becomes
my pain just as your hope becomes my hope. We come together from all walks of life,
from many different circumstances. We are a unique family because we represent many
races and creeds. We are young, and we are old. Some of us are far along in
our grief, but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that we feel
helpless and see no hope. Some of us have found our faith to be a source for
strength; some of us are struggling to find answers. Some of us are angry, filled
with guilt or in a deep depression; others radiate an inner peace. But whatever pain
we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain we will share just as
we share with each other our love for our children. We are all seeking and
struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building that future
together as we reach out to each other in love and share the pain as well as the joy,
share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts and help each
other grieve as well as to grow.
Since the early
butterfly has symbolized renewed life.
The caterpillar signifies life here on earth;
the cocoon, death; and the butterfly, the emergence of the dead into a new, beautiful and
freer existence. Frequently, the butterfly is seen with the word "Nika,"
which means victory. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross movingly tells of seeing butterflies
drawn all over the walls of the children's dormitories in the World War II concentration
camps. Since Elisabeth believes in the innate intuitiveness of children, she
concludes that these children knew their fate and were leaving us a message. Many
members of The Compassionate Friends embrace the butterfly a symbol--a sign of hope to
them that their children are living in another dimension with greater beauty and freedom--
a comforting thought to many.
Newsletter items to
Comments about the website to
The Compassionate Friends National