I spent the weekend at The Compassionate Friends National Conference. TCF is an international organization providing support for parents who have lost a child. When I discovered that their annual conference was being held in Portland this year, on the weekend before Rowan's birthday, I knew I should go.
It was truly an amazing experience to spend a weekend among parents going through so many of the same feelings and thoughts that I have experienced in the past year since losing our daughter Rowan. Although the majority of these parents lost older children, they all made me feel welcome, a part of this "club" noone ever wants to join. I was actually surprised when a few of these bereaved parents told me, 'I'm sorry you lost your baby so soon. You don't even have the memories that we have.' The compassion and generosity of heart of these strangers was astounding.
This morning my husband, my son Griffin, my father, and my stepmother joined me in the TCF Walk to Remember. Along with hundreds of other family and friends of those who have lost a child, sibling or grandchild, we walked two miles around Portland, carrying banners and bearing signs with the names and photos of our lost children.