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).