The Compassionate Friends is a worldwide organisation, dedicated to providing peer support to parents, siblings and grandparents following the death of a child, sibling, or grandchild, at any age and from any cause. They promote community awareness and understanding of the unique needs of parents, siblings, and grandparents after the death of a child.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria (TCFV) has a drop-in centre in Canterbury, open Monday to Friday. Our state-wide services include general and specialist formal and informal support groups; 24 hours per day grief telephone support; one-on-one online sibling chat support; community and/or professional education sessions; brochures/information sheets; member magazine and e-newsletter; a community library (based in the Canterbury centre); memorial, social and self-care activities and events for members; and family respite accommodations. In the social media arena, there is a Facebook page and the sibling Instagram account (see right).
After the death of my son several years ago I became aware of TCFV and visited the drop-in centre, finally finding people who understood my pain and grief. Over the years I have attended formal monthly support group sessions, informal coffee morning support groups as well as many of the memorial and social events, such as the Annual Walk to Remember, Mother’s Day luncheons, events that honour our children and the passing of the year, such as Spring Fling, the Winter Solstice, Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) and the Candlelighting Service in December, a worldwide memorial event.
During this time, I have also volunteered at the Canterbury Centre and made many good friends along the way. Family and friends, whilst most are sympathetic for a while, do not understand that the death of a child is extremely traumatic and takes a lifetime to learn to live with and, unfortunately, many do gradually drift away. This can be vastly different to most people’s experience of grief such as losing a parent which, whilst incredibly sad, is something normal and expected. Without the support and understanding of TCFV I do not know how I could have carried on.
The Compassionate Friends Victoria
229 Canterbury Road, Canterbury
Ph: 1300 064 068 – 9888 4944 Admin: 9888 4034
(Bereaved Mother and TCFV Member)