By Paula Bruckner


This April 26th my Adam would have have celebrated his 31st birthday. The passage of time has allowed me to take steps to carve out my new normal, my altered state of reality; however at times his death his a surreal experience to me.


I miss my good looking boy with the biggest grin and a loving heart. Adam was a very kind person, witty, smart, avid reader and was the glue to keeping my children together.


I never would have dreamed that Adam would one day succumb to the disease of addiction. When he was a young boy I never would have predicted this in his future. He was a cautious boy, not one to take chances. Now, I am sadder and wiser as I realize how widespread the epidemic of addiction truly is. It crosses over every line from gender, ethnicity, religion, race, socioeconomic status, education … it is an equal opportunity disease.


I miss my boy with all of my heart while believing that I will meet up with him upon my own demise. Sometimes the grief overwhelms me and I want to hasten that just to be with him but I stop because that would be an unfair burden to place upon my husband, and my 3 other wonderful children who are also grieving the loss of Adam. I still find myself searching for Adam every time I step outside. I stare at young men with similar body builds, hair cut, certain clothing, gait …. my brain knows that he is gone but my heart still longs to find him or just to have him come through my door.


I wish you a happy, heavenly birthday Adam. I know you will be celebrating in Heaven with your two sets of beloved Grandparents, your cousin, your Aunt and many other loving family members and friends. Until we meet up again I hope that you can keep on sending me signs.


XO Mommy


– Paula Bruckner, COPE Parent


By Sandy Brafman


Bonnie Beth Brafman was born healthy and happy on 4/4/73. Her parents were absolutely thrilled with this gift from God. She was an ideal, sweet, happy baby and child. I never knew a love that deep. We were both totally captivated by her every move and grew incredibly close to her. She became my whole world, especially when slight physical problems started occurring at around 7 years old. Her walking and “maturity” were considered slower than average. She then needed a scoliosis brace from the time she was 8 to about 17. These became emotional issues in handling life challenges such as keeping up with her peers. I stayed home with her until she started first grade, then worked part time close to home. How do you let someone you love so deeply and would help in any way (but somehow you could not) go when she was taken???? Yes, we had her for 35 years but she had been through so much. Now she was feeling somewhat better but the disease of diabetes robbed her body.


Two main questions emerged for us: why had God done this to us?? How could we ever survive without her??? Over the last 4-1/2 years we have slowly found answers. We are almost at the New Normal. A major part of this development was due to Compassionate Friends in Plainview NY and particularly to COPE in Jericho, NY. Without these 2 groups we would still be feeling isolated–we would not believe anybody else could understand what we were/are going through. I know other parents lose their children but it does help to see you are not alone. We went through anger at God, anger at myself, even a touch of anger later about her reluctance to fight the diabetes before it was too late. Very slowly “how could God do this to us” became “maybe He saw her suffering so intently that he took her to rest.” Since we started our journey we have been able to get on having fun and sharing with wonderful new friends in Leisure World as well as our Temple. However, hearing people talk about their children/grandchildren remain very difficult for us as it also brings us back to WHY??? This usually occurs at holiday times. Fortunately I always get her feather signals and feel her around me constantly. I so miss her voice, her hands, her back (she always needed back rubs, especially near the end). Yet for some reason, possibly time, I look forward to fun times here. I want to talk about her to other people. I do NOT like keeping a mask on–to seem content and especially to seem cheerful is extremely difficult at times. We still do not like crowds too much, nor are we ready to go to the movies and museums. People here seem very friendly though so I guess we do not seem sad.


At this stage we find ourselves going towards the light of peace. I forgive myself, God, and others most of the time. We feel ready to move on in life; yesterday we adopted a dog.   Our other dog died in December. Slowly but steadily we move towards The New Normal. May we all find peace when we get there. May you keep guiding us, Bonnie. Dear Angel, please rest in eternal peace.


– Sandy Brafman, COPE Parent