When you need compassion

Recently there has been a wave of unexpected deaths among our younger community (COVID-related and otherwise) that prompts me to write this letter of awareness. I lead the chapter for The Compassionate Friends of the Roaring Fork Valley, which serves families from Silt to Eagle and Glenwood to Aspen.

When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. We offer support to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings. The Compassionate Friends come from all walks of life yet we need not walk alone. None of us chose this path; however, the friendships that result from the common thread of losing a child becomes so meaningful to those who need the support from others experiencing a similar loss. Our group has lost loved ones to suicide, drug overdose, health issues such as cancer and the flu, SIDS and car accidents. Each tragedy is unique yet we provide a place of comfort and understanding where participants are not judged and all emotions and concerns are kept confidential.

Some of us have lost more than one child, and the time frame since our losses ranges from three months to 35 years. It’s not a life event any of us ever expect to experience. We welcome new friends who feel the initial shock of their loss is truly unbearable. This support group is not for everyone; I personally have a handful of friends/acquaintances who have lost a child in the past five years who have never attended one meeting, and I now have new friends that attend every single time we gather.

We meet the first Tuesday of each month at The Orchard in Carbondale at 6:30 pm. This Tuesday, Nov. 2, we will meet again. Meetings generally run an hour and a half or however long members need to stay. We are not a sad group but are a group of people with hope to find a better way of coping with our losses. We find time to laugh, breathe and mostly honor our loved ones.

Please pass this on to those that may benefit and reach out with any questions or suggestions.

My heart is always open.

Vivian Williams