A group for grieving | AspenTimes.com

A group for grieving

Dear Editor:

Eight years ago, (Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2000), the front page headline of The Aspen Times read “Snowmobiler dies on church outing.” Our daughter Catherine’s obituary ran on page 4A, and two days later we buried our precious 14-year-old. Needless to say, our lives were changed forever. The road we travel is every parent’s worst nightmare, yet the same unfortunate story has played out for many other families here in the valley. Though the circumstances surrounding our children’s deaths may be different, the heartache of unthinkable proportions is the same.

While well-meaning people come along to bring comfort for a while, no one understands like those who have traveled the path before us. Likewise, we who learn to live with the pain have an opportunity to comfort those whose lives are shattered by grief in the here and now. Until recently, there has not been an organization in the Roaring Fork Valley to connect us. But thanks to the efforts of some dedicated volunteers, we now have a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends.

TCF ” http://www.thecompassionate friends.org ” is a national, nonprofit support organization that offers friendship, understanding and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. There is no religious affiliation and there are no membership dues or fees. Our local chapter meets on the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. in the basement of Christ Community Church, located at 20351 Highway 82, about five miles west of downtown Basalt. Our next meeting is this coming Monday, Feb. 4, and the topic is “Just for Today.”

We invite and encourage all those who have walked this lonely road, whether your grief is fresh or tempered by time. I hesitate to use the word “recovered” because we never fully recover. But for those of us who have reconciled the loss, it can be tempting to “let sleeping dogs lie.” However, we need you. Those who suffer now need encouragement and support to know they can survive. Please consider joining us for their sake.

No one wants to join a group that has the highest membership dues in the world. However, I am grateful for the support, and I invite everyone who has experienced the loss of a child, grandchild, or sibling to attend. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions at 963-1036.

Rachel Ophoff


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