Sunday, May 3, 2015

38th Compassionate Friends Conference in Dallas this July

Hope Shines Bright deep in the heart” is the theme for the 38th National Compassionate Friends Conference in Dallas, Texas, July 10-12, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency .

Some of the special events at the conference will include sharing sessions, the walk to remember, picture buttons, hospitality rooms, memory board tattoo wall, reflection room, butterfly boutique, bookstore and keynote speakers.

Over 100 sessions will be available for bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents. They include sessions on circumstances of the loss such as illness, accident, drugs or suicide; sessions for men and women specifically; sessions dealing with healing; the grief related to family and friends, long term and early grievers; using creativity to help healing, and many other topics related to grief. Many sessions will be available to siblings (teen and adult siblings) on how to deal with various issue that may come up with parents and additional siblings such as multiple loss and parents being parents.

Three keynote speakers will highlight the conference. At the opening ceremony Kay Warren, co-founder of the mega Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA, is an international speaker and best-selling author who has a passion for inspiring and motivating others to make a difference with their lives. Her son, Matthew died by suicide at the age of 27. Kris Munsch, whose son Blake was killed in a car accident, tells his inspiring story of survival and how this quest inspired his famous Birdhouse Project. Gary Mendell will speak at the Friday luncheon. He is founder and CEO of Shatterproof, a national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. He lost his son Brian in 2011 to addiction. At the closing ceremony Christopher Jones, whose son died of Muscular Dystrophy, is the author of Mitchell’s Journey, a popular Facebook blog about his son, his journey and the transformative effects it has had on the lives of his family and himself.

One new addition to the conference is the Creative Café, a three-part specialized area focusing on the use of creative arts, craft making and good self-care practices in the healing process. Each of the three areas originated in one or more of the traditional workshops, but the cafes new come-and-go hours on Friday and Saturday will allow more time and a more conducive environment for personal reflection, for completing actual take-home projects, and for learning about and experiencing resources and techniques to help in the grief process.

The first area in this new Creative Café will provide a rich variety of art materials in addition to collage making. It will be an open all day art studio. It is about getting in touch with where you are in your healing journey. The second area is the crafty corner which will offer make and take crafts that can be completed easily at the conference, as well as those that can be completed at home, using you own loved one’s photos and belongings. The third are is healing haven, a peaceful setting for relaxation, renewal and recovery of the mind, body and spirit.

I believe these conferences are the best thing you can do for yourself. If it is possible for you to attend, go to for more information and registration materials.

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