When our daughter, Amy, died in an automobile accident, I became a lifelong member of a group no one wants to be a part of, grieving parents. For months, I attended meetings of The Compassionate Friends, where membership consisted of being a bereaved parent, sibling, or grandparent. Nothing else mattered, – not income, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Losing our children created a unique bond between us. Among these new friends, I cried, talked about my child, and found hope in the experience of those further along this path of belonging.
I communed with this group for many months, and I still speak with friends I made along my journey. They taught me that I did not have to suffer alone. They taught me simple coping skills for the early days of loss. They showed me joy was still possible, even amidst grief. They listened without judgment, and loved without reservation. They hugged me and held my hand and walked beside me. They allowed me to belong.
~ Lisa Kiel