Compassionate Friends supports those who have experienced the loss of a child

PLATTSBURGH Eleven years ago, Scott Wolter was killed instantly in a car crash at the age of seven. Today, his family works to help others who have also experienced losing a child. DaleAnne Wolter, Scotts mother, is the leader of the Champlain Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends, a self-help organization offering friendship and understanding to bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings, according to the groups newsletter, put together by Brittany Wolter, DaleAnnes daughter and the sibling leader of the group. The groups purpose is to promote and aid in the positive resolution upon the death of a child and to foster the physical and emotional health of bereaved parents, grandparents and surviving children. However, Brittany explained other people are welcome as well. We invite aunts, uncles, family friends, cousins, she said. Brittany and her mother learned of Compassionate Friends about a year after losing Scott, but waited three years before attending their first meeting. It was a little while, but for us it was the perfect amount of time, said Brittany. The group has had people attend at various stages of the grieving process. Brittany explained one woman attended a meeting a week after losing her son, and another waited 25 years before going to her first meeting. Theres never the right time, said Brittany. Brittany was 12 years old when her brother passed away, but said it has been the past couple years that have been difficult for her. Youd think as the years go by it gets better, but now its at the time when last year he would have graduated from high school, said Brittany. And this year, all his friends are coming home from college. Then you start thinking, Hes not going to be in my wedding. Hes not going to be there to see my kids. Hes not going to have his own kids. This is the time when you really start thinking about that. Many events the group puts on keep Brittany busy, however. As sibling leader, she coordinates various sibling events such as visiting a corn maze, participating in open skate sessions, horse-back riding and art therapy. Were just trying to think of more stuff to involve the littler kids and get them together so they start knowing each other now, in case they need anything in the future, explained Brittany. Currently, there are no specific meetings for siblings of those who have passed away, but Brittany said if anyone wanted one, that is always a possibility. Meetings of Compassionate Friends are held at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the United Way building, located at 45 Tom Miller Road. Were always there. We dont ask you questions. Were there to talk, said Brittany. Anything is open for discussion ... Its never an uncomfortable environment. No one is going to judge anybody for what theyre feeling because most likely weve all felt something very similar. For more information about the Champlain Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends, contact DaleAnne Wolter at 493-2304.

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