About Us

The Marin County, CA Chapter is part of The Compassionate Friends, a national nonprofit, self-help organization with over 650 chapters in the United States.Our meetings offer friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved families (parents, grandparents, and siblings) who have experienced the death of a child from any cause and at any age. Our monthly meetings are open to all family members who are grieving the death of a child. TCF is nondenominational and there are no dues or fees. We offer a safe place for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings to meet and talk freely about your child and your grief issues.

The Marin County, CA Chapter of The Compassionate Friends was formed by two Marin families in 1979. Larry and Sally Norton lost their 12 year-old son, Jimmy, from smoke inhalation during a fire. Another San Rafael couple, John and Georgia Alioto, lost their 11 year-old daughter, Alana, in a horseback riding accident. Both couples felt that there was a need in the area for a support group for parents who were grieving a child and feeling isolated. They joined together to start the chapter to offer comfort and hope to other bereaved families. “You have a lot of support in the beginning,” Norton says, “Yet my need for help continued longer than my willingness to ask for it. With a group like this, you know people would be there over a long period of time. You wouldn’t feel like you were bothering anyone with your pain.” Through the dedication and hard work of its early members, TCF Marin has developed a presence in the area, helping hundreds of newly bereaved parents find their way through their loss.

On the 2nd Sunday in December, our chapter joins the hundreds of TCF chapters around the world in a candle lighting service. Our chapter also has installed a memorial to our children in a quiet circle of land next to the Greenbrae bike path on Corte Madera Creek. There are links to the World Wide Candle Lighting and the Children’s Memorial on the website with more information.

The Long Forever

You left us so quickly;
there were no goodbyes.
How long this forever,
your death and our lives.

The sadness, the anger,
the loneliness of three,
preferring four always,
how small, this new we.

Printed with permission from :
Genesse Bourdeau Gentry
from Stars in the Deepest Night
– After the Death of a Child