The Compassionate Friends
Madison Area Chapter Newsletter March - May 2024
For current information or in the event of inclement weather and a meeting may be cancelled, check our website: Send emails to:
TCF Memorial Day Service and Picnic
 Monday, May 27, 2024 Beginning at 11:00 A.M.
   The names on the Memory Benches and plaques are being transferred to the bridge near the shelter and are almost complete! We are again taking names if you would like to have your child’s name on the bridge. See inside for details.
Calendar – Upcoming events:
Madison Area Chapter of The Compassionate Friends Meets the 3rd Thursday of each Month from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Monona Lutheran Church 4411 Monona Drive, Madison
(across from Monona High School) We welcome everyone! 
April 18 – Chapter Meeting
May 12 – Mothers’ Day
May 16 – Chapter Meeting
May 27 – Memorial Day Service & Picnic
To the Newly Bereaved
   A Special Message to those of you who are newly bereaved and receiving our newsletter for the first time, we warmly welcome you to the Madison Area Chapter of The Compassionate Friends. We are a self-help organization of parents, grandparents, adult siblings, and support persons who have experienced the death of a child. We offer understanding and support through our monthly Chapter meetings, events, a lending library, support materials and loving listeners. Please do not be afraid to come to a gathering. Every other person in the room has lost a child, grandchild, or sibling. They come because they feel the need to be with someone else who understands. We know it takes courage to attend that first gathering, but those who do come find an atmosphere of understanding from others who have experienced the grief that you have now. Nothing is asked of you. You do not have to speak. There are no dues or fees. There is a special feeling at meetings of The Compassionate Friends. We understand and are so sympathetic hoping that you will attend Compassionate Friends meetings. We are glad that you have found courage to reach outside your grief and attempt a connection to others. We hope that you will find others that somehow become a source of strength or information for you.
Memories will bring you
Love from the past,
Courage in the present,
Hope for the future.
Sasha Wagner 
    Dear Mr. Hallmark,
I am writing to you from heaven, and although it must appear
A rather strange idea, I see everything from here.
I just popped in to visit, your stores to find a card
A card of love for my mother, as this day for her is hard.
There must be some mistake I thought, every card you could imagine.
Except I could not find a card, from a child who lives in heaven.
She is still a mother too, no matter where I reside
I had to leave, she understands, but oh the tears she’s cried.
I thought that if I wrote you, that you could come to know
That thought I live in heaven now, I still love my mother so.
She talks with me, and dreams with me; we share laughter too,
Memories are our way of speaking now, would you see what you could do?
My mother carries me in her heart, her tears she hides from sight.
She writes poems to honor me, sometimes far into the night
She plants flowers in my garden, there my living memory dwells
She writes to other grieving parents, trying to ease their pain as well.
So you see Mr. Hallmark, though I no longer live on earth
I must find a way, to remind her of her wondrous worth
She needs to be honored, and remembered too
Just as the children of earth will do.
Thank you Mr. Hallmark, I know you’ll do your best
I have done all I can do; to you I’ll leave the rest.
Find a way to tell her, how much she means to me
Until I can do it for myself, when she joins me in eternity.
HOPE is a rare gift that, if we’re lucky, comes to us with the power to heal our lives. I’ve come to know that the deepest sense of hope often springs from the hardest lessons in life. It is the darkest skies that the stars are best seen – perhaps it is divine irony that within the darkest moments we are capable of revealing the greatest light demonstrating what is best with humanity. From TIMEPIECE By Richard Paul Evans
From Your Chapter Leader's Kitchen Table
   As I look out my kitchen window in early March it's hard to believe that it's technically still winter as I write this to you, and that Spring is just around the corner. This time of year, is always bittersweet for our family. Caroline was murdered on 2/2/16 and her birthday along with her mother's (my wife), and my father's birthday are May 1. We never forget our children as we move forward with our lives.
   This year, however, we have a special reason to remember and celebrate our children. The Memorial Plaques in Vilas Park on the benches at the children's playground are in the final stages of being replaced by new plaques on the bridges near the shelter by the lagoon next to the zoo. This means that we can start collecting the names of TCF members' children to add to the bridge. There is no cost to have your child's name placed on the bridge, but Love Gifts are always appreciated.
   We plan to collect names at our upcoming chapter meetings in March and April and we will be sending out instructions on how to submit names by email (preferred method), letter, or phone. The information needed is a child's first name and middle name or middle initial. PLEASE PRINT OR TYPE YOUR CHILD'S NAME so that we get it right. NO LAST NAMES TO PRESERVE THE PRIVACY OF YOUR FAMILY.
   I am really excited that we will again be able to honor our children in this special way this coming Memorial Day and beyond. I look forward to, hopefully, seeing many of you there.
Humbly yours, Jim Nosal, father of Caroline Chapter Leader (Facilitator)
Our Mission
The Compassionate Friends was founded 50 years ago when a chaplain at the Warwickshire Hospital in England brought together two sets of grieving parents and realized that the support, they gave each other was better than anything he, as a chaplain, could ever say or provide. Meeting around a kitchen table, the Lawleys and the Hendersons were joined by a bereaved mother and the chaplain, Simon Stephens, and The Society of the Compassionate Friends was born. The Compassionate Friends jumped across the ocean and was established in the United States and incorporated in 1978 in Illinois.
   In 1994, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beginning of The Compassionate Friends, Madison Area Chapter planted a tree and placed a granite plaque near the tree in Madison’s Vilas Park children’s playground. With help from the city of Madison, our Chapter also had the first memory bench placed near the playground. In 1996, we had the second memory bench installed, in 2001, the third bench was installed, in May 2004, the fourth bench was installed and in May 2009 the fifth bench was installed. There are now a total of 1,167 names of our beloved children on these five memory benches and our plaque. This playground has truly become a special gathering place for many families.
   In subsequent years more names of our beloved children were engraved on plaques for a new bench. However, in 2017 we were contacted by the City of Madison that a new memorial bench could not be installed until the Vilas Park renovations were completed. Eventually they told us they still wanted our children’s names displayed; however, they had not decided where. In Phase I, our beloved children’s names from the memory benches and engraved plaques would be displayed on plaques on boards on the bridges which are located near the Vilas Park shelter, where the TCF Memorial Day Service & Picnic event is held each year.
   We have been informed that all the names in Phase I will be on the bridge for this year’s event. We will now take more names of our beloved children to be added to plaques for the bridges. We are grateful that we can celebrate the bridge project and can take new names of our beloved children for this year’s TCF Memorial Day Service & Picnic event. Please complete the form or email the information, as indicated below, no later than April 30, 2024 to be included for the event. Note that any donation/love gift is appreciated and will be acknowledged in an upcoming Madison Are Chapter newsletter; however, a donation is not necessary to have your child’s name added to the plaques for the bridge. 
   Information can be emailed to: Or return completed form to Gina Accola, 1908 Nighthawk Lane, Sauk City, WI 53583 NAME OF CHILD OR CHILDREN TO BE REMEMBERED (Include child’s full name for inclusion in the Memorial Day program; however, please note that only the first name and middle initial/middle name are engraved on the plaque for the bridge.) Please print your information clearly for accuracy of the spelling of your child’s name.
CHILD’S NAME:______________________________________________________________
YOUR NAME:____________________________________________________________________
EMAIL:___________________________________________________________(to receive acknowledgement).
Enclosed is $________________ as a donation to the Memory Plaques for the Bridges at Vilas Park. (Make check payable to The Compassionate Friends). 
   Please join us as we remember our children at the Memorial Day Service at Vilas Park Shelter. We are grateful that we have this way to remember and honor our children. There is a parking lot near the shelter. The service begins at 11:00 a.m. After the service we will have a picnic. Please bring a dish to pass, or chips or dessert to accommodate the size of your family, if you wish (not required). There will be electric outlets for hot dishes.
   Brats and hot dogs, condiments, plates, cups, utensils, coffee, water and lemonade will be provided. Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends all are welcome. If you have any questions, please call Jim Nosal at (608) 512-2223 or Barb Seth at (608)838-8654 or email: barbseth@yahoo,com.
The Compassionate Friends of Madison, Wisconsin Facebook Group
We have a facebook group! Please know this is a private group vs public. This allows members to share about their children, ask questions of each other, and discuss common things related to our shared experiences in a confidential environment. Please contact Tia Scanlan if you have questions!
Book Review (Submitted by Carol Anacker)
"Grief Quest, A Workbook & Journal To Heal The Grieving Parent's Heart" Published by DreaMaster Books, published Oct. 25, 2012
28 days of journaling exercises. With daily meditation verses. Short stories at beginning, end of weeks 1,2,3, and short story at conclusion week 4. "The simple act of recording your memories in a tribute to your child and the love and life you shared." 8 of Grief Quest Initially, some questions seem repetitive, but that makes one take a moment longer to think about it more, look inside a little deeper and amazingly makes you ponder and think for additional deeper memories. Where you may find yourself saying, "Oh I almost forgot about that time. I'm glad I recalled it and wrote it down now, " said Carol Anacker
Utilize a 4 step L.O.V.E process in journaling and a 4 step F.I.N.D process.
L - Love and Life memories record by journaling...Remember the love and life you shared
O - Open to feelings of grief and expressing them
V - Value by acknowledgement through journaling the many gifts your child gave you.
E - Embrace your present life for slightest shred of gratitude and gifts in it - pan for gold that might exist in your life now.
F.I.N.D. Yourself questions ask you to reflect on find rediscover a life that is forever changed. A journaling opportunity workbook. Also offers stories and heartfelt verses for comfort, and for meditation. Available on Amazon books. But I am just feeling able to focus on doing the journaling now, almost 4 years to the anniversary of Zach's passing...
 July 12-14, 2024 We are very pleased to announce The Compassionate Friends (TCF) 47th Annual National Conference in New Orleans!
Information and registration can be found online at: TCF’s National Conference is an enriching and supportive event for many newer and long-time bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings. Attendees come and find renewed hope and support, as well as strategies for coping with grief, all while making friendships with other bereaved people who truly understand the heartbreaking loss of a child, sibling, or grandchild. Lifelong friendships are often formed and rekindled each year at TCF conferences.
Unique and cherished highlights of our conference include our heartfelt Saturday evening Candle Lighting Program, Sharing Sessions, Keynote Addresses, Healing Haven, Butterfly Boutique, Crafty Corner, and Silent Auction. Our weekend of inspiration, sharing, and learning is followed by the Walk to Remember on Sunday morning.
Love Gifts 
A Love Gift is a gift of money (or books) to The Compassionate Friends. It is usually in memory of a child, grandchild or sibling who has died, but it may be from individuals who wish to honor a relative or friend who has died, a gift that their children are alive, or simply a gift from someone who wants to help. The Compassionate Friends charges no individual dues or fees and depends on such Love Gifts to meet the Chapter’s expenses, including the printing and mailing of this newsletter. Please send any Love Gifts to our treasurer, Donna Knickmeyer, W14118 Selwood Drive, Prairie du Sac, WI 53578 Checks should be made out to “The Compassionate Friends” Name____________________________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip___________________________________________________________________
In Memory of:_______________________________________________________________ 
   We wish to thank Ed & Donna Bardon, in memory of their son, Jared R. Bardon
Colin & Catherine Barfoot, in memory of their son, Joel William Barfoot
Jim & Jo Gruber, in memory of their son, Jeffrey A. Gruber
Jane Kahl / Ken Kunda, in memory of their son, Evan Kahl
Alex & Kathleen Naughton, in memory of their daughter, Hannah M. Naughton
Alex & Kathleen Naughton, in memory of their daughter, Polly E. Naughton
Richard & Karen Nelson, in memory of their daughter, Tamara Thering
Richerd & Karen Nelson, in memory of their son, Fred Nelson
Richerd & Karen Nelson, in memory of their son, Donald Nelson
Thomas & Kathleen Pederson, in memory of their daughter,
Carol Jean Loniello Karen Slack, in memory of her daughter,
Emmitt Conner Jerry & Gail Schaefer, in memory of their son, Jeremy Schaefer
Karen Wolf, in memory of her son, Brad Wolf
Karen Wolf, in memory of her daughter, Angie Cambell
 By Amy Schmidt In memory of Mary Oliver
It’s important to be lonely when you’re zesting an orange.
Scrape the soft rind once and the whole room fills with fruit.
Look around: you have more than enough. Always have.
You just didn’t notice until now.
The Compassionate Friends Madison Area Chapter would like to express our gratitude to John Goodman and staff at Ad Press for providing the printing of the newsletter. Your generosity and excellence in quality and service is greatly appreciated!The Compassionate Friends Madison Area Chapter Newsletter