The Compassionate Friends of Metrowest: A place to go after losing a child


Ed and Joan Motuzas. Photo/submitted

By Janice Elizabeth Berte, Contributing Writer

Region – On a beautiful Tuesday evening, Joan and Ed Motuzas are setting up one of the rooms at Saint Mary’s Church in Holliston. This special room is where one can go for grief counseling and compassion after losing a child.

Ed and Joan’s journey started when their son Scott passed away at the age of 31 from kidney and liver failure. After losing their son, they felt a huge sense of loss and an overwhelming need for someplace to go release these feelings.

After several months of grieving, “I was walking around thinking that I was crazy,” Ed recalled, but just needed to find an outlet for his emotions. Then one day, Ed and Joan received a newsletter from the Worcester Chapter of Compassionate Friends, but, Ed said, “I wasn’t mentally ready to join that group.”

After some time had passed, Joan’s friend from Holliston who had lost her daughter shared with Joan that there was a Chapter in Holliston. Joan and Ed joined shortly thereafter.

They attended these meetings, and just listening to the other members.

“I kept quiet for a couple of months and just listened,” Ed said.

Shortly after being in the group for a while, Ed became more vocal and shared his feelings about the loss of his son. As time went on, Joan and Ed felt compelled to become more active in these meetings, which resulted in them facilitating the gathering.

“A lot of the times we become friends with the members because of the bonding and sharing of lost loved ones,” Ed noted.

The Motuzas have a Mass every year for Scott, and sometimes when one of their four boys hears a noise in the house, one of them will say, “That must be Scott.” Or, when the whole family goes to an event, someone will mention that Scott would have loved this get-together.

In addition to the monthly meetings, Joan and Ed have added a lovely holiday tradition on the second Sunday in December at 7 p.m.; Ed and Joan encourage people to light a candle for one hour in memory of their loved ones.

Ed is also in charge of the Outreach Program which consists of sending out cards and special newsletters to the bereaved, and to support them in any way possible to achieve better physical and emotional well-being.

The Holliston Chapter was started in 1974 by Holliston native Dorothy Pisapia who lost her son in 1973. Dorothy then became the founder and chapter leader of the Holliston Chapter of The Compassionate Friends. This chapter is one of the oldest chapters in the United States, and has been meeting monthly for 47 years. There are 14 chapters in Massachusetts ranging from Cape Cod to Springfield.

This chapter is a national self-help organization that offers guidance, friendship and hope to bereaved parents and siblings. The chapter has no employees and leadership roles and are filled by members or volunteers who work in honor of their children.

The free meeting is on the third Tuesday of every month from 7:30 – 9 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Church, 8 Church St., Holliston. You can also contact Ed Motuzas at or 508-473-4239.