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Local bereavement group formed to remember children

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Holding the hand of a sick loved one in hospital bedExperiencing the death of a child is a grief no one should have to bear but many do. Beginning August 5, 2014, bereaved families in the Shreveport/Bossier area will have an opportunity to meet with others that have endured similar tragedies.

The Compassionate Friends of Shreveport/Bossier has formed a chapter to provide support, offer a shoulder to lean on and enable families to share their struggles with others that understand. Free monthly meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at Virginia College in Pierre Bossier Mall. Visitors may use the parking lot entrance adjacent to Interstate-20.

Shreveport/Bossier Chapter Leader Theresa Maggio decided to form the group after her 35-year-old son committed suicide and her niece was killed in an automobile accident.

“This area has long needed a bereavement organization where families could talk about their loss publicly without feeling out-of-place,” Maggio said. “After your child dies, no matter their age or the circumstance, no one wants to talk with you about your child probably because they are afraid of making you feel bad. The irony is talking about your child helps you. No one wants their child to be forgotten and studies have proven that tears are an emotional release that help you to feel better.”

Maggio stresses any immediate family member can attend the monthly meetings, including adult siblings. The chapter welcomes families regardless of the cause or age of the child at death, from pre-birth and beyond.

“The death of a child turns the entire family upside down,” Maggio added. “Through our shared experience, we will be able to talk about the loss and learning coping techniques that will help us in our journey toward the positive resolution of our grief.”

“The Compassionate Friends welcomes the Shreveport/Bossier chapter,” said TCF Executive Director Alan Pedersen. “When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family. The Shreveport/Bossier chapter will help us toward that mission.”

For more information about the local chapter meetings, call TCF Chapter Leader Theresa Maggio at (318) 347-8833 or contact her at theresamaggio1@gmail.com. To reach the national organization, call toll-free at (877) 969-0010, visit www.compassionatefriends.org or www.facebook.com/TCFUSA.