TCF National

The Compassionate Friends National Site

TCF National Office 1.877.969.0010

The national magazine of The Compassionate Friends,We Need Not Walk Alone, featuring articles by and for parents, siblings, and grandparents who are grieving the death of a child in their family.


TCF National Office
PO BOX 3696
Oak Brook, IL 60522

Speaking from the Heart ... Orlando Florida

by Alan Pedersen
Alan Pedersen

It was supposed to be just another beautiful Sunday in eastern rural Colorado. After spending the past 2 days working with grieving families and professionals in the community of North Platte, Nebraska, I awoke early. I was looking forward to my 3 hour drive to Denver to visit with family and enjoy a much needed day off.

Before I could grab a cup of coffee at the hotel breakfast buffet, the television headlines described an awful tragedy. I rushed back to my room to turn on CNN and get on my computer to catch up with details of another major loss of life which had struck our country. When I first heard that the mass shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida I was horrified because I knew that several of our TCF staff members and many volunteers were in Orlando attending planning meetings for our 2017 National Conference to be held there.

After getting confirmation that our staff and volunteers were safe, the next task was to coordinate a response from The Compassionate Friends on how we would mobilize our local volunteers and inform the local community and media about the support we can offer the families of those who died in this tragedy.

It was nearly 7 PM before I was done working in a mechanical mode to insure that our organization with the help of our amazing staff and volunteers would be positioned to help as many people as possible by creating awareness and supplying resources to the Orlando area.

When it was all done, I was exhausted as the full brunt of the tragedy began to sink in. I had long considered myself pretty tough; for many years I have been involved directly or behind the scenes in the aftermath of nearly every major news event in the United States involving multiple loss of life. I have worked with professionals and families from 9/11, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown/Sandy Hood and Roseburg, Oregon. In each case I had a very important job to do in providing support and I was able to just put my head down and get the job done.

But somehow, this one was a tipping point. After lining up the volunteers and sketching out a plan of action and getting the ball rolling, I just had to stop and consider the emotional and human toll this tragedy will take on so many. I began to think about those who are frantic waiting to hear if their loved one was dead or alive; I ached for those who had already received the dreaded news. I thought about those fighting for their lives. I wanted to reach out and hug everyone grieving this historic tragedy.

As the Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends it is my duty and responsibility to make sure our support services are available to all, and it is also my responsibility to make sure we are mobilized when a community is stricken with a massive tragedy. The events in Orlando, Florida have taught me that I must conduct the business of coordinating a plan of action, but I must also take a breath and allow myself to feel the emotional effect of these losses and take some time to process the magnitude of the grief.  I have to learn to let that wall down now and then and just grieve for the grieving. 

Thanks for the honor of allowing me to serve as your Executive Director,


Alan Pedersen

Tragedy in Roseburg Oregon
Once again as a country we face a national tragedy of senseless violence in Roseburg, Oregon. We as Compassionate Friends know all too well the shock and pain and stand next to the families who are now missing loved ones and wondering how to move forward. Today we reach out to those families in Roseburg and offer our hearts and support. We also reach out to each of us who are walking our own path of grief. We understand that sometimes sad events like this one can trigger emotions in all of us. We are here to listen, to understand and to offer support to the families in Oregon and across our country. Remember today and always, We need Not Walk Alone.

If you are a bereaved family member, and would like to speak to someone directly, please call the National Office at 877.969.0010. For media inquiries only, please call 248.468.1881.

Join TCF/USA's Facebook Page for additional grief support!
TCF's Facebook Page is a proven support area for bereaved family members to come and talk about their grief. Stop by and visit with some of our more than 35,000 Facebook members!!

The Open to Hope Show
The Open to Hope web radio program features grief experts, Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley, who discuss the many aspects of bereavement with a main focus on the death of a child and its effects on the family. Learn more and see details about the August 2012 shows.
[Learn More]The Compassionate Friends recommends this show as a grief/loss resource.

TCF Reacts to Tragic Newton Shootings
Much has been happening with The Compassionate Friends and this e-newsletter is designed to bring you up-to-date so that you have the latest information available. The Worldwide Candle Lighting was held Sunday, December 9 and continues to grow around the globe. The tragic shootings in Newtown have left everyone wondering what we can do to help. This newsletter will bring you up to date on where we stand in helping the families left behind and this town that is reeling from this disaster. There is an exciting announcement about an honor that TCF's website has received. The 36th TCF national conference in Boston is fast approaching. And we now have information on the first of the regional conferences that will be held in 2013.

Much is happening in the bereavement world after a child dies and The Compassionate Friends is here for you.

Always in their memory,
The Compassionate Friends

The tragic shooting deaths of 20 young students and seven adults (including the mother of the gunman) left the tiny community of Newtown Connecticut reeling from the unthinkable event. The Compassionate Friends immediately started making plans on how to best help the families of the victims, a community in shock, and a nation struggling to cope with an incomprehensible pall of sadness at the needless deaths.

Since then, TCF has constantly been in contact with Social Services in Newtown which is acting as an intermediary with the families and the community and everyone who wishes to help.

Among the things TCF has done so far are the following:
TCF immediately talked with local chapters and the Connecticut RC making them aware that TCF's emergency fund was available to pay for brochures, booklets, and any type of support materials for the families of the victims and also to support the community in its support of the families of the victims.

We've committed to sending enough "Forever in my Heart" wristbands to provide one to every man, woman, and child in Newtown and the Schools. Six thousand have already been shipped including over 1,000 junior size, all that were in stock. More have been ordered from the supplier and will be shipped to Newtown when received. Over 2,000 have already handed out to townspeople and children during the holiday break and at various functions.

TCF hosted a webinar, "The Nation Mourns and Together We Heal" with guests Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley from Open to Hope Foundation where they discussed grief triggers and how to talk with children in the wake of what has happened. The webinar is available to watch on demand on TCF's Webinars page linked above.

TCF has created online The Newtown Remembrance Book of Love and is inviting all TCF members and the general public to write messages of love to the families and the town. In just a short period of time the book is approaching 2,000 messages. Once it is complete, it will be hand delivered to Newtown in finished form to be presented for posterity. Post in the Remembrance Book by going to and click on the orange "Remembrance Book" button.

Two press releases designed to help others understand how to provide support in light of this type of situation and how TCF is working to support the families have been distributed.
To contribute to The Compassionate Friends Emergency Fund, please use the regular online donation form and on the second page under "Comments," write: Emergency Fund.

The Compassionate Friends will continue to make its full resources available to provide support in Newtown and anywhere in the United States where parents, siblings, and grandparents are grieving the loss of a child.

Now available to watch on demand: The Nation Mourns and Together We Heal January's webinar related to the Newtown tragedy.







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