Sunday, August 3, 2008

Blog and email responses

I received two comments from my blog related to the Compassionate Friends Conference I wrote about two weeks ago that I’d like to respond to. Also I have a note to another email received on the topic of laughing.

Neil, who attended the conference recently in Nashville as I did, wrote and asked about a Christmas gathering for those who have lost their only child. Christmas is such a special time of year that you want to be with people you are close to, whether relatives (if you have them) or people who understand what you are going through. Is there a place for them to be? My suggestion would be to contact those in the same situation as you who you have met and try to arrange to get together, perhaps someone you met at the National TCF conference recently. I can tell you that after the two national NOW CHILDLESS conferences I held in Arizona, many of the participants became very close and make special plans to meet in one of the cities a few times a year and also go together to other conferences held for bereaved parents during the year. I do know that there are groups who try to get together over the holidays from Alive Alone. They decide on a location and meet there, always having a great time. If you contact Kay Bevington at the Alive Alone organization at , she can direct you to that group and to others who might want to do exactly what you would like to do, get connected to those with whom you can share experiences and feel comfortable. Hopefully, in 2009 there will be another NOW CHILDLESS conference held and you will get to have the experience of being with all these special people from all over the U.S.

Betsey, who also attended national TCF, wanted to find out about regional conferences close to where she lives. The best place to get the information for this is to go to the Compassionate Friends website at . They usually list all the conferences held during the year as they come up. There are not that many, simply because it takes a lot of work to put on a conference as I am well aware, and in today’s society, most people don’t have enough time. But those that are put on are well-worth attending. I have been to both large and small conferences and each has its benefits, so it is worth looking into. Right now TCF web site is only listing next year’s TCF conference in Portland, but be patient. They will list them as they come up, or you can call their toll-free number at 1-877-969-0010 and talk to someone in the office. The other two organizations that list regional conferences for everyone are the Alive Alone Newsletter (contact or the Bereaved Parent USA site: .

One email I received from a reader expressed his frustration on the topic of laughing. He thought it was disrespectful to laugh at anything while in mourning for your child. My response to him is that it is okay to laugh and is one of the first challenges you come to as you move through the grief process. At first you do feel guilty when you start laughing after crying for so long. Laughter has been found to be the best medicine for you and a positive way to help cleanse your body. Although you grieve your child, you don’t have to feel any guilt for laughing when it is appropriate. One day you will have a sudden lighthearted feeling and you will know that it is okay to laugh without any guilt feelings, that your child is probably laughing with you and that he or she is glad you are moving forward.

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