TCF Changes Many Lives

by Sandy Fox
I have watched miracles happen when parents who have lost a child are helped. At a national Compassionate Friends Conference one summer, I spend a lot of time in the bookstore selling my book. It was there I met Bobby and his sister when they bought my book. He was very quiet and withdrawn. She explained: “I had to bring Bobby here. I was afraid for him.” In 2001 one of his teenage children was killed in a car accident. In 2002 the second of his teenage children was killed in a car accident. In 2003 the third and last of his children was killed in a car accident. All three children gone and in different types of car accidents. Bobby’s wife was getting treatment in a special hospital.
“I love my brother and want to help him desparately,” she said, “so I brought him here to hopefully get that help. I didn’t know where else to turn.” No one should have to go through what Bobby has gone through; yet it happens to the best of people.

Through the 4-day conference I occasionally saw Bobby and his sister. At workshops he sat quietly, taking in everything. His sister did a lot of talking. Gradually, he began to talk also. Good for him, I remember saying to myself.

At the end of the conference they both came into the bookstore to say goodbye. I turned to Bobby and said, “I must ask you this. Was this conference of any help to you?” He looked at me and without a second’s hesitation said, “It saved my life.”

Bobby went back home to North Carolina and started a Compassionate Friends chapter in his hometown where there were none and in no time became the chapter leader. The chapter is growing very strong.

I lost track of Bobby for two years. At a recent national conference, both of them again walked into the bookstore and I beamed. What a powerful walk he had! What a powerful handshake! His chapter had grown tremendously in the past few years. He was proud and rightfully so. I could tell he indeed had come through the worst part. This doesn’t mean he won’t have any more bad times; he will probably always get teary-eyed when thinking of his children, but there is nothing wrong with that. After 15 years, I still can’t mention my daughter’s name without a little choke forming in the back of my throat.

The important lesson from this story is, of course, to never give up. And what a beautiful example of how Compassionate Friends, the workshops, the speakers, and the sharing sessions have helped so many over the roughest parts of surviving grief.

Sandy Fox

More Articles Written by Sandy

Sandy Fox has won four finalist awards for her recent book "Creating a New Normal...After the Death of a Child" with over 80 coping articles and a huge resource section. One award is from USA Book News in the Health/Death and Dying Category for 2010. The second award is from ForeWord Reviews in the Health Category for 2010. The third is from Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. The most recent finalist award is for the self-help category of the 2011 Indie Book Awards. She is also the author of another grief book, "I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye." “I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye” tells the stories of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives after the death of their child, offering hope and survival techniques. Sandy has headed two national bereavement conferences for childless parents and spoken for many years at Compassionate Friends National conferences, POMC and across the U.S. to a variety of bereavement groups. She also writes articles for the Open to Hope site, EZ articles, and Journey through grief newsletter in addition to her own weekly blog: www.survivinggrief.blogspot.com. Sandy can be contacted at [email protected] to set up any speaking engagements or to ask any questions related to surviving the death of a child. Sandy was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart“ discussing: “I have no intention of Saying Good-Bye: Coping Techniques for the Now Childless.” To hear Sandy being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley010407.mp3

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