At our Pittsburgh chapter of The Compassionate Friends, each member is a bereaved parent, grandparent, or sibling. We find solace, warmth and comfort in the compassionate friendship of others, especially in the initial years of grieving and healing.
In addition to our monthly meetings and special events, we publish a quarterly newsletter for our members, with articles and stories about dealing with grief, poems, and remembrances of our loved ones who have passed away.
Our chapter is led by our Steering Committee, made up entirely of volunteers from our TCF membership.
Please contact us if you would like to join our group.
We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends. We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope. The children we mourn have died at all ages and from many different causes, but our love for them 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, creeds, and relationships. 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 they feel helpless and see no hope. Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength, while some of us are struggling to find answers. Some of us are angry, filled with guilt or in deep depression, while 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 the children who have died. We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building a future together. We reach out to each other in love to 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 to grieve as well as to grow. We Need Not Walk Alone. We Are The Compassionate Friends.
©The Compassionate Friends
We are the surviving siblings of The Compassionate Friends. We are brought together by the deaths of our brothers and sisters. Open your hearts to us, but have patience with us. Sometimes we will need the support of our friends. At other times we need our families to be there. Sometimes we must walk alone, taking our memories with us, continuing to become the individuals we want to be. We cannot be our dead brother or sister; however, a special part of them lives on with us. When our brothers and sisters died, our lives changed. We are living a life very different from what we envisioned, and we feel the responsibility to be strong even when we feel weak. Yet we can go on because we understand better than many others the value of family and the precious gift of life. Our goal is not to be the forgotten mourners that we sometimes are, but to walk together to face our tomorrows as surviving siblings of The Compassionate Friends.
©The Compassionate Friends
When you are thinking about starting to attend chapter meetings of The Compassionate Friends, you probably will have many questions. Remember that you'll be among people who understand.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you cannot find an answer to your question.
No one can say with certainty when is the right time to come to a meeting. Sometimes family members come shortly after the child has died while other times they wait longer. Some people who attend shortly after the child's death may decide not to come back until they're more ready. This is a personal decision.
There is never a charge to attend a TCF meeting. Our chapters rely on voluntary donations from members, friends, and the community at large.
Chapter meetings are open to all families that have experienced the death of a child, at any age (including pre-birth), from any cause. Regardless of our child's age, we in TCF believe our children will always be thought of as just that . . . our children.
Of course, you can bring a friend, but we ask that they, as well as all members, respect each other's privacy. It is important for us to be able to share freely within our group and be sure confidences will be respected.
At some meetings, we simply introduce ourselves and share our thoughts and feelings. At other times, we may have short programs (ex., a guest speaker) before the sharing time. We also hold two special annual events, a butterfly release (usually in August) and a candlelight memorial service (in December). Please see our Meeting Information page for more details about our meetings.
While TCF has no religious affiliation, chapter meetings are held in a wide variety of locations depending upon what is available in our communities. The Pittsburgh chapter is non-denominational and does not require nor prefer any religious affiliation. All beliefs are welcome.
We all grieve differently. Many parents don't feel the need for a support group until years after the death of a child. It's all right to come whenever you are ready, whether it's soon after your child's death, months later, or years later.
People attend meetings until they no longer feel a need. Some attend just a few meetings while others come for years. Some are so thankful for the helpful support they've received that they stay to help in chapter leadership so they can be there for the next persons who walk through the doors seeking help.
Often, the first meeting brings a lot of emotions to the surface and this may make the first meeting difficult. Some say that they bring home the pain of others after listening to their stories. Attending three meetings gives you time enough to allow your emotions to even out and to understand that in sharing there is healing. By attending three meetings you will also be able to observe the different dynamics of the group as different members attend and share.
While we understand the difficulties of finding child care, we must ask that any children attending with you be old enough to understand the meeting discussions and not be upset by them. Please note that our chapter welcomes siblings ages 16 or older. We do not have child care available at our meetings. For grief support for younger children, we recommend the Highmark Caring Place.
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P.O. Box 15495, Pittsburgh, PA 15237/412-835-1105