TIPP CITY, Ohio (WDTN) — A local organization offers support and hope for those grieving; the Compassionate Friends of Miami County is a support group for anyone who’s lost a sibling, a grandchild, or a child.

Kim Bundy leads the chapter. Her son Randy Hess took his own life on December 21, 2007. He was 24 years old.

“Always had a smile. He was the life of the party,” said Kim Bundy. “He just had a way of bringing joy to anybody, anybody he touched.”

Steve and Cindy Glaser lost their 38-year-old son Andy June 23, 2014.

“Going through this is like going through hell,” said Cindy Glaser. “And it changes every day. even though it’s been eight years. Some days it hits you like a brick wall.”

For Amy Payton, her pain is raw. Her son Jeremy Fogle died January 14, 2022. At 38 years old, he took his own life.  

“I cry every day. I talk to him every day. I send him messages. I have a journal I keep that I write to him in,” said Amy Payton.

In losing ones they love, these families have all gained each other, finding support in the Compassionate Friends of Miami County. The groups meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at the Zion Lutheran Church in downtown Tipp City.

“In this group — because everybody’s in the same boat so to speak — they feel, they get it,” said Steve Glaser.

Months after Andy’s death, the Glasers found quiet comfort in unspoken grief.

“‘We just found a lot of strength coming to those meetings,” said Cindy Glaser. “Nobody should go through this process alone and the people who only truly understand are people that have gone through this themselves.”

After losing Jeremy this year, Amy Payton leans on the Compassionate Friends in her healing process.

“You don’t even have to talk at these meetings. You can sit there and be quiet. and just listen to everybody else’s story. And we’re huggers. You need a hug, that human connection is amazing. And I can pick up the phone and I can call any one of these people, and any one of them would be there for me in a heartbeat,” said Amy Payton.

The butterfly is the symbol for the Compassionate Friends.

To remember their loved ones, they’re holding an annual butterfly release. It starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 28 at the Nashville United Church of Christ Picnic Grounds in West Milton. Anyone is welcome.