Who We Are
The Greater Baltimore Chapter, like all TCF Chapters, is an officially chartered non-profit organization made up of other parents whose children have died. The causes and ages vary significantly but the pain and loss is the same. TCF is a non-denominational group with no religious or spiritual affiliations. All belief systems are honored and welcomed.
Please accept our deepest sympathies at this time of great loss. We know that words often fail to sooth this pain. Know that we welcome you with gentle hearts and strong arms that understand, where words are not always needed, nor explanations required.
The Story of The Mustard Seed
A woman once came to the village elder holding the corpse of her dead child. Wailing in her anguish she pleaded with the Elder to bring the child back to life. He said that to do this he would need a rare ingredient: a mustard seed from the household of a family that had never known death. The woman was sent out to find such a mustard seed. Her desperate search yielded no such seed - only many stories of grief as great as and, at times, even greater than her own. In the end these stories connected her deeply and truly to her own suffering, and so she was healed from her anguish.
Like this aggrieved parent, each of us has wished for that same mustard seed. Like her, we found instead a group of others who understood our pain and loss. We often hear “I came to TCF looking for answers; what I found was a place of refuge. These gatherings are the only place where I feel normal these days.”
In our shared suffering, we see our own suffering and we are, in time, healed. As we share our experiences, as we speak about our beloved children there is understanding and acceptance. In a world that all too quickly returns to what was… we no longer have the same world around us. Our world is irrevocably changed.
Our shared learning has taught us that this grief process is different for each person. We know that it takes as long as it takes – there is no set pattern, no right or wrong way to grieve. As long as your process is not destructive to yourself or others, this is your unique expression of your grief. Often we hear well meaning family and friends saying “get over it” or “move on”. You won’t hear that here.
What you will hear is how similar many of us feel; you will discover less loneliness in a world that can not typically understand what you are experiencing. Each month we create a safe space to speak our truths without judgment. Surprisingly, sometimes we even laugh – often at the foibles of others as they attempt to sooth us; sometimes we can laugh at ourselves. We know that most people mean to support but are often at a loss when it comes to knowing what to say or what to do. We have some suggestions that may be helpful for you. Helpful Tips
For centuries, the butterfly has symbolized the resurrection and life after death. The caterpillar signifies life here on earth; the cocoon, death; and the butterfly, the emergence of the dead into a new, beautiful and freer existence. Frequently, the butterfly is seen with the word, “nika,” which means victory. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross movingly tells of seeing butterflies drawn all over the walls of the children’s dormitories in the WWII concentration camps. Since Elizabeth believes in the innate intuitiveness of children, she concludes that these children knew their fate and were leaving us a message of hope. The Compassionate Friends has adopted the butterfly as one of its symbols, a sign of hope to us bereaved parents and siblings that our children are now living in another dimension with greater beauty and freedom, a comforting thought to many.
The Compassionate Friends