I have joined a group with very exclusive membership requirements – a group that no one wants to be qualified to join. 

“The Compassionate Friends” is for bereaved parents, and offers support and friendship to anyone whose child has died. They publish a newsletter that gives dates and times of meetings, and contains articles and stories and poems contributed by the members. There is a local chapter at Newcastle (I’ve made phone contact but not attended a meeting) and a group in Sydney for those who, like us, have lost an adult child. There are special groups for those who have lost a child to a cot death, or suicide, and a group for siblings, and so on.

Reading the newsletter is heartbreaking but healing, too. This poem pierced me to the heart, it expressed so exactly what I would want to say too:

IF I SAW YOU TODAY

If I saw you today
What would I say?
    I love you; I will always love you
    I’ve missed you; it’s been so long
    I think of you every day,
    And tell you of our lives
    Since you left.

But you know all these things
And knew how loved you were
We were so fortunate.

So today I would say – Thank you
    Thank you for teaching me so much.
    I never realised when you were here
    You were teaching me.
    I thought I was teaching you.
    Then when you died, you taught me even more.
    So much more.
    Some things I didn’t want to know
    Or learn.
    But now I have that knowledge I am thankful
    Even though acquiring it was so painful.

If I saw you today
I would hug you
And ask you not to go
Even though I would know you must.
I would hug you, grinning, crying
I would take this little piece of eternity
Time with you
And thank you

But I’d want
To ask for more

I contacted the writer of that poem, Carolyn from Tamworth, and in response she sent me a book of her poems “Once Upon a Shooting Star” that she has written since the death of her son Ben at the age of 21 (plane crash). I told her I will attend a Compassionate Friends group one day but can’t bring myself to do so just yet. She encouraged me to go anyway, said no need to be brave, doesn’t matter if you go along and don’t say anything, or if you just sit there and cry buckets of tears, or anything. They have all “been there” and just want to be there for each other and strengthen each other.

“The wounded healer” in practice. God bless them all.