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March 2016

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Leesburg Chapter

March 2016

A Warm Welcome

  • Dawn Culotta, mother of Amber Marie
  • Sandra Norris, mother of Lamonte
  • Karen & John Popovich, parents of John Paul

“Almost without exception those who survive a tragedy give credit to one person who stood by them, supported them, and gave them a sense of hope.” ~Robert Veninga


The Easter and Passover seasons are upon us. They are special family times that make it more obvious that one is missing. Some parents are struggling with what they believe. The pretty dresses and hats don’t seem to matter as much as they did. There are more important things on our minds now. We are facing the renewal of life all around us - and yet the missing child’s life is not renewable.

We hurt because life is going on and his or hers is not. These are normal reactions for some when grief is fresh, for the changing of seasons is a poignant time for many. Those of us who have had the necessary time wish to convey to those who have not that it won’t always be this painful. When your grief softens (and it will), so will many of the hurtful responses. Get out in the sunshine, go for a walk, smell the fragrance of the flowers and allow the warmth and beauty of the season to permeate your being. It just may make your day a little lighter. – Mary Cleckley, TCF, Atlanta, GA

Find a Little Time For Spring

Find a little time for spring even if your days are troubled. Let a little sunshine in - let your memories be doubled. Take a little time to see all the things your child was seeing - and your tears will help your heart find a better time for being. ~Sasha Wagner, TCF, Des Moines, IA

Angel of Hope

Hope is the melancholy angel of grievers,

Elusive and beautiful Hope is the light from nowhere,

Telling us that we must reach For the unknown promise That waits to be fulfilled,

In a future we do not yet understand. ~Sasha Wagner, TCF, Des Moines, IA

Goldfinch of Hope

I found it so difficult to get up in the morning and face the day after my son died. When I awoke, the tears would stream down my face and I knew that it wasn’t a bad dream and Brian was really gone. I dreaded getting out of bed for months. I was feeling so hopeless. One winter day, I looked out my kitchen window and it was gray, barren and lifeless. This described how I felt inside…hopeless. I called out to God for help and asked Him to send me a sign of hope.

It wasn’t long after that my sign of hope appeared. The tree outside was filled with beautiful goldfinches on almost every branch. My heart leapt as I gazed upon them with awe and their beauty struck me with amazement. I began thanking God for this incredible gift and I knew that Brian was free to fly now. The chains that held him down were released and his burden of depression and all the suffering he endured was over. I felt such a sense of excitement and joy as I stared at these beautiful yellow birds. I realized Brian was enjoying in heaven what he could never enjoy here on earth.

The next morning when I awoke, I felt such a sense of hope for heaven. I couldn’t wait to look out the window to see if the goldfinches had returned. They arrived again that morning in their splendid yellow and black attire. God blessed me again and again with the gathering flock every day for a month. I got a glimpse of heaven with these beautiful “angel” birds.

Several years later I was viewing religious art in a museum in London and noticed the goldfinch was in paintings of Jesus and Mary. I later came to learn that the goldfinch represents victory over death, which is why it is sometimes called “savior bird.” In Christian tradition the goldfinch came to represent the passion of Christ. The bird lives on thistles and thorns reminding us of the suffering of Jesus and His resurrection.

God Bless you with hope, ~Beverly Elero, Brian’s mom, TCF, Leesburg, VA


It is the gift of HOPE which reigns supreme in the attributes of The Compassionate Friends.

HOPE that all is not lost,

HOPE that life can still be worth living and meaningful,

HOPE that the pain of loss will become less acute,

and above all else,

the HOPE that we do not walk alone,

and that we are understood.

The gift of HOPE is the greatest gift that we can give to those who mourn.

--Rev. Simon Stephens, TCF founder