Founder’s Statement


Lillian Julien with her daughter, Michelle

COPE was inspired by a dream

In 1992, my 20-year-old daughter, Michelle, lost her life tragically in a car accident. In the midst of my grief, she came to me in a dream and said, “I’m okay, Mommy. You’re the ones who aren’t okay and you need to reach out and help each other. I woke with a vision of grieving parents and siblings coming together for emotional support.

Michelle’s message inspired COPE, (an acronym for Connecting Our Paths Eternally) and has been my ongoing source of inspiration. Ironically, it was in the process of building COPE, and connecting with other parents who had lost a child, that I found healing.

In 2000, my husband, Robert Julien passed suddenly. Motivated by my loss and our children’s grief, COPE’s bereavement camp was started in 2012 to support children grieving a parent, sibling or someone close to them.

It has been said, “Death ends a life, but not a relationship.” Through COPE and Camp Erin NYC I’ve found purpose and a new relationship with my daughter and husband.

As I look back, I’ve learned this:

  • By helping others, I helped myself.
  • By dedicating myself to building something in my child’s name, I found hope and connection.
  • By creating a new relationship with my daughter and husband, I found connection and peace.

I never thought I could recover from my loss, endure the pain, and ever live again. Over the past thirty-two years, I have rediscovered life again—a life that includes my daughter, Michelle, and a love that is forever.

I have immense gratitude for all those who support COPE and sustain our programs.

I hope that COPE can be a source of comfort, safety and understanding while supporting each other and staying connected to your loved ones.

Lilly Julien

robert lilly julien

Robert Julien, of blessed memory

COPE is a nonprofit grief and healing organization helping parents and families living with the loss of a child.


After the death of her daughter Michelle, in a tragic car accident in 1992, Lilly Julien woke from a dream with a vision of grieving parents and siblings coming together for emotional support. Her hope was that as they helped each other, they would find comfort, healing, and continued connection to their loved ones.

Grief takes a toll on individuals in many ways including physical and emotional changes. Our COPE families find strength and hope in knowing they do not have to face this journey alone.


COPE was founded in 1999 by bereaved parents, Lillian & Robert Julien, Judy & Richard Berg and Patti Greenberg. COPE now offers professionally led support groups, a grief support phone line, educational and healing workshops including yoga, meditation, art, movement, music, and journaling.

Inspired by the loss of Lilly’s husband Robert, in 2000, and the impact it had on her children, Lilly Julien spearheaded COPE’s Camp Erin® NYC, a free summer weekend experience to support grieving children. COPE offers a concurrent Parent/Caregiver Retreat to help families grow and heal together.

COPE is committed to collaborating with the greater grief and bereavement community to provide referrals for appropriate services and bereavement education to schools, places of worship, hospitals and businesses. COPE trainings offer healthy coping tools and effective strategies to grieving individuals, while supporting the bereaved community.

cope groups

COPE Founders Lilly Julien, Judy & Richard Berg, Patti Greenberg

Grief Quest, by COPE Founder and President Emerita, Lillian Julien

Grief Quest has been named an Award-Winning Finalist in two categories of the 2012 USA Best Book Awards: “Health: Death & Dying” and “Self Help: Journaling”

In the agony and inconsolable grief of losing a child, we find ourselves asking questions we’ve never asked before…

When we say we’ve “lost” our child or a loved one, the truth is we’re the ones who are lost. The world as we’ve known it no longer exists. The right questions are like a trail in the wilderness that can lead us out of the darkness toward the light of a new life that is forever changed.



Grief Quest utilizes a unique question-based L.O.V.E process

L – Love your memories
O – Open to your grief
V – Value the gifts
E – Embrace your life

The questions in Grief Quest will help you remember. The simple act of recording your memories is a tribute to the love and life you shared.

If you embark on this Grief Quest you’ll get to know yourself and your relationship with your child on a deeper level than you thought possible.

Lilly Julien and I.J.Weinstock created Grief Quest out of their experience with love, loss and grief. Julien is the founder and President Emerita of COPE, the grief foundation she created in memory of her daughter that supports families in the New York area who’ve lost a child.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go toward funding COPE.

Buy the book on