The Compassionate Friends of Sioux Falls meets monthly, on the first Tuesday of each month, at 7:15PM. (The only exception is December when we have our special candlelighting service.) We meet at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 26th and Bahnson in Sioux Falls. We are privileged to be able to use this facility by the generosity of Westminster Presbyterian. However, we want to assure you that our group has no religious affiliation as we know that many people struggle with faith during such a time as child loss.
At the beginning of each meeting we have each person in attendance fill out a name tag, then we gather in a group to begin our time together. We begin with announcements and then we each have an opportunity to introduce our child. At this time you will become familiar with “The Bear,” as we call him. We pass him around the room as we introduce our children so that if anyone does not feel comfortable with speaking that night, he or she can just pass the bear and not have to speak. After this we have a discussion around a specific topic or question chosen by the leader. We may break into groups depending on the number of people attending. We then have a time of sharing with one another. This is a truly meaningful time for us to support each other and remind each other that we are not alone. New members often are encouraged to see that those who are further along in their grief have made it and want to know how to survive.
We close our meetings with a time of sharing for birthdays. Any parent or family member of a child who has a birthday that month is encouraged to bring pictures and other special mementos of their child. We all love to say our child’s name and share about him or her, so this is a very special time for us. We end the formal meeting at this time, which is usually 8:30 or 8:45, but the best part of the meeting often comes afterward when we fellowship with each other.
We are not professional counselors but we meet each person where he or she is at and seek to support each other in this journey of grief. We also want to assure each person that we consider all that is said in the meeting confidential, as we may share raw and intimate details of our grief with each other.