July 17, 2019

About Us

History

The Compassionate Friends was founded in England in 1969. Two sets of parents and a bereaved mother who each lost a child were brought together in an informal way by Rev. Simon Stephens to share their common bond of grief and memories. Soon they invited other families who had also lost a child to join them. The idea for a society of “Compassionate Friends” was born.

The first US Chapter was founded in 1972. In 1978 The Compassionate Friends was incorporated as a non-profit organization. There are now more than 625 Compassionate Friends Chapters in every state of the United States and hundreds of chapters in Great Britain, Canada and other countries throughout the world.

Each chapter, along with the supporting National Office, is committed to helping every bereaved parent, sibling, or grandparent who may walk through the door or contact us.

Today TCF has about 600 chapters serving all 50 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam 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.

The local Arlington Chapter of the Compassionate Friends was formed in 1977 by Fredrica Landi after the death of her daughter Marina Landi and now serves the Northern Virginia, Washington and Maryland area.


Mission

The mission of The Compassionate Friends: When a childdies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.

The Arlington Chapter of TCF embraces this mission. We are not counselors or therapists. We are parents, siblings and grandparents who have journeyed the same road you are now traveling. We reach out in support and friendship to share our experiences, learn from each other and offer understanding. There is no religious affiliation and no dues and no fees.


The Compassionate Friends Credo

We need not walk alone. We are The Compassionate Friends.
We reach out to each other with love, with understanding, and with hope.
The children we mourn have died at all ages and from many different causes,
but our love for them unites us. Your pain becomes my pain, just as your hope becomes my hope.
We come together from all walks of life, from many different circumstances.
We are a unique family because we represent many races, creeds, and relationships.
We are young, and we are old. Some of us are far along in our grief, but others still feel a grief so
fresh and so intensely painful that they feel helpless and see no hope.
Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength, while some of us are struggling to find
answers. Some of us are angry, filled with guilt or in deep depression, while others radiate an inner
peace. But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of The Compassionate Friends, it is pain
we will share, just as we share with each other our love for the children who have died.
We are seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building
a future together.
We reach out to each other in love to share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts, and help each other to grieve as well as to grow.
We Need Not Walk Alone.
We Are The Compassionate Friends.


Siblings Walking Together (Formerly The Sibling Credo)

We are the surviving siblings of The Compassionate Friends.
We are brought together by the deaths of our brothers and sisters.
Open your hearts to us, but have patience with us.
Sometimes we will need the support of our friends.
At other times we need our families to be there.
Sometimes we must walk alone, taking our memories with us,
continuing to become individuals we want to be.
We cannot be our dead brother or sister;
however, a special part of them lives on with us.
When our brothers and sisters died, our lives changed.
We are living a life very different from what we envisioned,
and we feel the responsibility to be strong even when we feel weak.
Yet we can go on because we understand better than many others
the value of family and the precious gift of life.
Our goal is not to be the forgotten mourners that we sometimes are,
but to walk together to face our tomorrows as surviving siblings of The Compassionate Friends.