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Susan Doyle Lawrence

VICE PRESIDENT

I first became a bereaved mother in the summer of 1968 when the body of our three-year-old son Michael was found in the ocean near our home. He had disappeared from our yard at the end of May. The Society of The Compassionate Friends was founded just a few months later, in Coventry, England, in January of 1969, but three decades would pass before I found TCF after the death of our thirty-one-year-old daughter Irene in 1998. She died of sudden, undetermined natural causes while sitting on the sofa one evening, leaving a seven-year-old son for us to raise. Because of the active grief work that I had done over the years in response to our Michael’s death and other significant losses, I was able to survive the initial shock of Irene’s death, and eventually I was able to move toward reinvesting in life. TCF played a huge part in helping me move through my grief, so I soon made a commitment to give back to the organization, first by editing The Next Step, the TCF newsletter for Vancouver Island, and later, when Rick Lepinsky retired from leading the Victoria chapter, as a facilitator and chapter leader. I also feel a strong personal commitment to offer hope, and a helping hand, to more recently bereaved parents, so I have presented workshops in Canada since 2003 (Collateral Damage: How Past, Present and Concurrent Losses Affect Our Grief Journey) and in the USA since 2009 (When Good Things Happen to Sad People; Daughterless Mothers; The Second Year – Why So Difficult?) I was elected to the board of TCF Canada in 2015 and currently serve as Vice-President and International Liaison. May we all work together to fulfill our mission as stated by the founder, the Reverend Simon Stephens: Transforming the pain of grief into the elixir of hope.