The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends (TCF)
is an international self-help support group for bereaved parents. It was founded in England in 1969 and
now has chapters in over 30 countries.
The North Shore Chapter was founded in 1990. For more information, go to www.tcfcanada.net.
Cathy Sosnowsky started attending
the monthly sharing meetings of the North Shore TCF a few months after her
teenage son Alex died. At first she
could only sob as she listened to the stories of other losses: of infants, teenagers, young adults, to
car accidents, homicide, suicide, illness, drug overdose… Eventually, she was able to share
her own story, and found that sharing her loss with those who understood led the
way to healing.
In the years that Cathy has been
involved in her North Shore local TCF chapter, she has taken a turn at being treasurer,
telephone contact, newsletter editor, and facilitator. On moving to Salmon Arm Cathy started a new chapter of The Compassionate Friends in conjunction with two newly bereaved parents there. In giving back to the support group that
comforted her, Cathy feels she is paying tribute to her son Alex.
After publishing her collection
of grief poems, Holding On: Poems for Alex, Cathy has given writing
workshops at many Compassionate Friends conferences and retreats. She was also instrumental in bringing to
fruition a memorial tribute to all children who have died too soon. The public art installation, “Enduring
Love,” is situated in North Vancouver’s Victoria Park, on the west side of
Lonsdale (cross street Keith Road, just a few blocks up from Lonsdale Quay).