February 2018

Dear COPE Families,
 
The last time I was in Arizona was 1991, three months before my daughter, Michelle, passed on Jan 25 in 1992. She had been attending the University of Arizona and met me at the airport. I have resisted returning since.
 
Synchronicity prompted my return. I received a wedding invitation from a favorite cousin whose daughter was getting married on Jan 20th in Scottsdale, AZ. I felt a need to go the distance for this cousin who was really there for me after the loss of my daughter and husband. He had a close relationship with both of them and had some powerful signs from my daughter after her passing.
 
I set an intention to make peace with the land that Michelle loved—the mountains, the air, the sky and the sunsets. I made plans to see healers to help me make peace with the land that took my daughter.
 
All my plans could not have prepared me for the flood of memories that engulfed me as I landed. I realized in that moment that I not only came to make peace with the land, I needed to make peace with me.
 
Wishing you greater peace on your journeys,
 
Lilly
COPE President and Founder

August, 2016

COPE families gathered this past week for another Memorial Labyrinth dedication. The day was sunny, the labyrinth beautiful with flowers and newly dedicated benches and bricks inscribed with powerful words of love.

Days before, as the new memorial bricks were being installed, I could feel the love pouring in. Then the night of the event it was literally pouring. Lightning and thunderstorms moved through, the weather symbolic of all that we can’t control.

The sky was dark and mimicked our emotions. Huddled in the COPE House, we hoped and waited for the light to break through. For a brief time the rain stopped and we gathered at the labyrinth for a dedication of benches and bricks in loving memory of our beloved children, siblings and loved ones.

How ironic that our COPE Memorial would be a labyrinth Connecting Our Paths Eternally; bringing us together on sacred ground, surrounded by benches and a circle of bricks dedicated to all those we love.

Standing in a circle, each next to their newly dedicated bricks and benches, we honored our loved ones by reciting their names. As the last name was spoken it once again began to rain.

We returned to the safety of the COPE House and found the comfort of connection. Even when there are no words, there is comfort in being together with others who understand.

By walking the labyrinth, we are taking the time to connect with ourselves, to heal, find peace, and reach out to our loved ones. When we walk the labyrinth, there is a releasing, a letting go of the details of our life. When we reach the center, we reach a place of openness, where we can remember and receive, release and return.

The plaque at the labyrinth contains this poem—”Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us everyday. Unseen, unheard, but always near, Still loved, still missed and very dear.” Whenever we walk the labyrinth, they’re there to walk with us, “unseen, unheard but always near. ” Always reminding us that we’re all connected.

I’ve been told that butterflies, like birds, carry messages.  Because they fly at a very high frequency, they can pick up vibrations of our loved ones and be a sign of their presence.

Last week, on the day of the brick installation, I was sitting on a bench planning the dedication.  A butterfly hovered close by and rested on my arm. It fluttered from my arm to my neck, to my face, and to my lips. It then flew to the special man who installed our labyrinth and lingered by him. I couldn’t help but think that it was a message from our loved ones saying, “Thank You.”

Wishing you butterflies, dragonflies, feathers and whispers of love,

Lilly

 

COPE President and Founder

Ljulien5@gmail.com

August, 2016

COPE families gathered this past week for another Memorial Labyrinth dedication. The day was sunny, the labyrinth beautiful with flowers and newly dedicated benches and bricks inscribed with powerful words of love.

Days before, as the new memorial bricks were being installed, I could feel the love pouring in. Then the night of the event it was literally pouring. Lightning and thunderstorms moved through, the weather symbolic of all that we can’t control.

The sky was dark and mimicked our emotions. Huddled in the COPE House, we hoped and waited for the light to break through. For a brief time the rain stopped and we gathered at the labyrinth for a dedication of benches and bricks in loving memory of our beloved children, siblings and loved ones.

How ironic that our COPE Memorial would be a labyrinth Connecting Our Paths Eternally; bringing us together on sacred ground, surrounded by benches and a circle of bricks dedicated to all those we love.

Standing in a circle, each next to their newly dedicated bricks and benches, we honored our loved ones by reciting their names. As the last name was spoken it once again began to rain.

We returned to the safety of the COPE House and found the comfort of connection. Even when there are no words, there is comfort in being together with others who understand.

By walking the labyrinth, we are taking the time to connect with ourselves, to heal, find peace, and reach out to our loved ones. When we walk the labyrinth, there is a releasing, a letting go of the details of our life. When we reach the center, we reach a place of openness, where we can remember and receive, release and return.

The plaque at the labyrinth contains this poem—”Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us everyday. Unseen, unheard, but always near, Still loved, still missed and very dear.” Whenever we walk the labyrinth, they’re there to walk with us, “unseen, unheard but always near. ” Always reminding us that we’re all connected.

I’ve been told that butterflies, like birds, carry messages.  Because they fly at a very high frequency, they can pick up vibrations of our loved ones and be a sign of their presence.

Last week, on the day of the brick installation, I was sitting on a bench planning the dedication.  A butterfly hovered close by and rested on my arm. It fluttered from my arm to my neck, to my face, and to my lips. It then flew to the special man who installed our labyrinth and lingered by him. I couldn’t help but think that it was a message from our loved ones saying, “Thank You.”

Wishing you butterflies, dragonflies, feathers and whispers of love,

Lilly

COPE President and Founder

Ljulien5@gmail.com

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July, 2016

This past May, Dr. Norman Fried was honored for his contribution to the grief community at our annual COPE Golf Outing. For those of you who weren’t there, I’d like to share with you his moving speech…

In her famous poem, Conversation with a Stone, Wislawa Szymborska, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature wrote:

I knock at the stone’s front door.  “It’s only me, let me come in. I want to enter your insides, have a look around, breathe my fill of you.”

“Go away,” says the stone. “I’m shut tight. I’m made of stone and must therefore keep a straight face. Go away. I don’t have the muscles to laugh.”

I knock at the stone’s front door. “It’s only me. “ I say. “Let me come in.”

“Go away,” says the stone. “There isn’t any room.”

“It’s only me,” I reply. “Let me in.”

We are parents, friends, physicians and teachers. We are children, students, and siblings.  We are fellow travelers, each of us, and we live a life that demands inner-reflection, and outer action, most often manifested through the love we feel toward one another. We are governed by a Divine mandate and structured by a drive toward order.  But sometimes we discover that order is the last thing we truly have in this life.  Rather it is confusion, despair and uncertainty that too often seem to prevail over our days.

As a psychologist and counselor to both the physically ill and the worried well, I am struck by the paradox of living – how we go about our lives, gloriously unaware of our vulnerability, until one day, without warning, the telephone rings, a doctor enters a consulting room, or a newspaper headline calls out. And without regret for what it sweeps away, life ushers us into a new world. Wet and bewildered, we quickly learn that the person we were, the couple we were, and even the family we were only moments ago, is changed now, and forever.

How then do we survive the pain of living? How do we make sense of tragedy, sickness or suffering? And what are the lessons, if any, from this human journey upon which we have been reluctantly or willingly placed?

I suggest, that in the face of difficulty, we search for the strength that comes from “connection,” or as the COPE Foundation calls it, Connecting Our Paths Eternally. I suggest we search inward for spiritual or religious refinement, the chance for personal growth, and a connection to a higher self, a happier time, or even a Higher Power. But I also suggest that we look outward – seeking gestures of kindness, mercy and understanding from others.

Every one of us has a story to tell, and when we are fortunate enough to find the right listener, that special soul who bears witness to our story of woe and wonder, sadness and success, as do the people in COPE, we begin the healing process.

Like climbers on a circular staircase we are rising, confronting the human themes of sorrow, regret, spirituality and personal growth. And one day, if we tend to our human connections with love and honest reflection, we may come to see the world from a loftier, a heathier, and perhaps even a holier point of view.

But through it all, we must remain grateful. Grateful for the love we had, and still have. Grateful for the wisdom that living imparts; and grateful even for the lessons that in dying, our loved ones are trying to teach us.

“I knock at the stone’s front door. ‘It’s only me. Let me come in.

May we all discover our ability for inner reflection, as well as our ability for outer expressions of love and gratitude, so that we may strengthen the healing that Connection has for us all.

-Dr. Norman Fried, recipient of 2016 COPE Professional Service Award, acceptance speech

 

Lilly

COPE President and Founder

Ljulien5@gmail.com

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