David Schroeder, father of the late Evan Schroeder, who fell to his death on Aug. 22, 2001, while climbing Mount Juneau, is calling for families and individuals who might be interested in forming a Juneau chapter of The Compassionate Friends.
The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit, self-help 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.
The secret of TCF's success is simple: As seasoned grievers reach out to the newly bereaved, energy that has been directed inward begins to flow outward and both are helped to heal.
For Schroeder, TCF meetings have been very helpful in dealing with the loss of his son. His chapter meets monthly on the fourth Tuesday. (Some chapters meet more frequently, some less.) The meetings begin with opening remarks, then participants break off into circles of eight to 12 people.
Group members begin with introductions and then discuss their feelings and experiences. Newly bereaved parents can attest that TCF is one of the most helpful experiences since the loss of their child. Bereaved grandparents, siblings and supportive friends are also welcome.
If you are a bereaved parent or know someone who is, Schroeder will be available in Juneau July 4-11 to discuss the possibility of starting a TCF chapter in Juneau, or simply speak as one bereaved parent to another. He can also be reached by e-mail or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org, (201) 805-3490. His hope is that bereaved parents in Southeast Alaska will be able to help each other through this most difficult of life's experiences as they do in so many other parts of the world.