Bereaved parents support group hosts weekend reading in Saanich

When Gwen Linski lost both of her children in a house fire in 1972 there was nowhere for her to turn for support.

In the years following the accident, she thought that her grief set her apart from all of her peers. It took her 15 years before she and learned that wasn’t true after joining The Compassionate Friends Canada, a support group run by parents who have suffered the loss of a child.

“Once I did get involved, I realized just how normal I was,” said Linski, now the president of the organization.

TCF was founded in England in 1969 by two people who had both lost their children and were introduced by a chaplain who believed that if they could support one another, they could support masses of grieving people. Chapters now exist in every province, where groups meet monthly and host sharing sessions for siblings of the lost child or parents of someone who has taken their own life.

Linski is now in the midst of a move from Saanich to Nanaimo where she will continue to steer the Canadian branch of Compassionate Friends. Since the ’80s, she has seen monthly meeting after meeting of bereaved parents experience very similar emotions to her own when she first found the support available through TCF.

“When I went to the first meeting, what I discovered was that being among people who had a similar experience, I was able to relax and go into my grief in a way that had not been possible within the well-meaning communities that I was already in,” Victoria chapter leader Susan Lawrence said. “All of the people who knew me were supportive of my grief journey, but they weren’t able to relate to my loss.”

Lawrence will be on hand at the Saanich Centennial library this weekend (May 14) when Cathy Sosnowsky, author and leader of a Vancouver TCF chapter, reads from her memoir of Snapshots: a Story of Love, Loss and Life. The book deals with the sudden death of Sosnowsky’s son Alex and the subsequent loss of two adopted children to hard drugs and life on the street.

The reading starts at 3 p.m., at the Centennial Library, 3110 Tillicum Rd. Sosnowsky, a former English professor, hosts a workshop on writing to heal, May 15 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s Kirk Hall, 680 Courtney St. Tickets to the workshop – which Lawrence has taken and benefited from  –  are $30 and available through csosnowsky@shaw.ca.

To join the Victoria chapter of TCF Canada, contact Lawrence at 250-474-1246.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

The Pat Bay Highway was closed for several hours Monday morning after a drug-impaired driver crashed into two hydro poles. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Pat Bay closure caused by drug-impaired driver

Man struck two hydro poles, closing a section of the Pat Bay Monday morning

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

Central Saanich has rejected plans for a pilot project that would allow food trucks in Centennial Park. (Black Press Media file photo)
Central Saanich puts brakes on food truck pilot project

Coun. Carl Jensen questions Central Saanich’s consistency

A rendering shows what the Doral Forest Park development would look like from the southwest. (Rendering via D’AMBROSIO Architecture & Urbanism)
Beaver Lake area project passes next hurdle in Saanich

Council approval for 242-unit parks edge development hinges on meeting of conditions

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read