Archive for April, 2016

Dear Compassionate Friend:

The geese are on the river, the finch feeders are full of activity and “Here Comes the Sun” was on the radio this afternoon. These are all welcome signs that the cold, dark days of winter are behind us. Whether you are just starting your grief journey or are some way along, the lengthening, brightening days always seem to boost the spirit. Take full advantage with a walk in the park, or just watching nature come back to life. We too can look forward with hope to emerging from the dark days of our grief.

1. Sharing Circles

Our Circles will continue on the third Tuesday of each month from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at The Olde Forge Community Resource Centre. The next meetings will be on April 19th, May 17th, June 21st and July 19th. There are no fees to attend any of our events or activities and no need to register in advance. Please arrive a few minutes early to check in. For directions and a map, please visit our Chapter website

2. Annual General Meeting

Our 17th Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday June 7th at The Olde Forge, starting at 6:30pm. This is not a Sharing Circle but an opportunity to see what goes on “behind the scenes”. Please join us to see how you may be able to contribute your time and talents to helping others on their grief journey.

The meeting format is informal, with lots of round-table discussion. Please feel free to bring snacks, drinks or finger-food to share.

3. Parent’s Anthology

Donna Sharkey is compiling an anthology of bereaved parents’ stories to be used as resource for other parents, support groups and social workers. The stories will focus on the impact of the death of a child on the family, whether it be a positive message of surviving the grief journey or a description of more negative experiences. The attached Request for Submissions contains more information. If you are interested in sharing your family’s story, please contact Donna at dsharkey. The deadline for submissions is 30 September 2016.

4. Balloon Release

Please mark your calendar for our annual Balloon Release in memory of our children who left us too soon which will take place on Saturday June 18th at The Butterfly Garden on the CHEO campus. Registration will open at 1:30 pm and the ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm. Balloons, strings and notes, light refreshments, as well as free parking will be provided courtesy of CHEO. We also expect to have live butterflies for the children to release.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone that you think may like to attend.

5. The Butterfly Garden at CHEO

Although the Garden has been dormant over the winter, the Garden Planning Committee has not. In the next few weeks, we will be installing a plaque to explain the background of the Garden project, displaying posters and information cards in high traffic areas in the hospital, and improving way-finding signage so that patients and their families can find the Garden more easily. In addition, the CHEO internal and external websites have been updated with information pages about the Garden. You can find links to these pages on our Chapter website

The Butterfly Garden is now listed in a catalog of local gardens of interest and has been submitted for registration as a Monarch Butterfly Way Station. In addition to providing a quiet place for respite and relaxation, the Garden project serves to promote the mission of The Compassionate Friends by increasing public awareness of our organization.

6. Chapter Website and Facebook Page

Remember that you can stay in touch through our website and Facebook page. On Facebook, look for “The Compassionate Friends Ottawa Chapter” to read and post messages and comments. Our website ( has links to many resources, including newsletters, our library list, information leaflets, ‘Remembering our Children”, and “Find a Friend”.

7. National Update

Eileen and I joined the National Board of TCF Canada last fall to help rebuild the organization after several years of disarray. Our primary role is Chapter Development assisting both established and fledgling Chapters across the country. If you have any interest or experience with national organizations or would like to be involved with the Board in any capacity, please reply to this e-mail.

A National Conference is being planned for July 2017 in Medicine Hat, Alberta. If you would like to assist with this project, please reply to this e-mail. We have been asked to present a workshop on facilitating Sharing Circles.

A support group has been started recently in Nanaimo BC under the name “The West Coast Society of The Compassionate Friends”. This group is not affiliated with The Compassionate Friends of Canada and the organizer has been requested not use the Compassionate Friends name, logo, website or tag line “We need not walk alone”.

8. Unsubscribe

If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please reply to this e-mail.

Thank you for your support.

Best wishes,

Andy Bond
The Compassionate Friends, Ottawa Chapter
Kevin’s Dad

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