The death of a child is devastating and often referred to as the worst experience a parent can endure. 

A child’s death causes a profound family crisis. It shatters core beliefs and assumptions about the world and the expectations about how life should unfold. The overwhelming suffering and intense emotions that flood the days, weeks, months, and years following the loss is called grief.

The pain of grief is extremely intense as parents digest the finality of never seeing their child again and the loss of future hopes and plans. While memories of the child flood their mind, they also experience a deep emptiness and unimaginable void in their lives. Grief impacts a parent’s whole identity as well as the identity and security of other members of the family.

Some emotions of grief can be shared with others, while other intense feelings of loneliness or guilt, may never be put into words. The ways in which feelings and emotions of grief are experienced and expressed differ from person to person. One parent may need to talk a great deal about the loss and the pain, while another may become quiet and withdrawn. 

The Sidney chapter of Compassionate Friends is accepting photos for the December Candlelight Service slide show. Email photos preferably in a color jpeg format to [email protected] with the child's birthdate and angel date (date of death).

The Candlelight Service is scheduled for 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, at The Well Church in Sidney.

The service is a time of remembering those lost, of songs, a slide show of those lost and an opportunity to gather with people of like experiences.

The Compassionate Friends was founded more than 50 years ago when a chaplain at the Warwickshire Hospital in England brought together two sets of grieving parents and realized that the support they gave each other was better than anything he, as a chaplain, could ever say or provide.

The Compassionate Friends organization started at a kitchen table meeting in England. The Compassionate Friends jumped across the ocean and was established in the United States and incorporated in 1978 in Illinois.

Each chapter, along with the supporting national office, is committed to helping every bereaved parent, sibling, or grandparent who may  contact us.

TCF has more than 600 chapters serving all 50 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, that offer friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members during the natural grieving process after a child has died. Around the world more than 30 countries have a Compassionate Friends presence, encircling the globe with support so desperately needed when the worst has happened.