“Awaken Your Senses” by Christine Cherpak


Dear Fellow Grieving Siblings,

It is with much honor that I write this column for COPE’s Newsletter. While I contemplated this for quite some time, I frequently put aside the task for “another day.” And I am thankful for the desire that now burns within me to contribute a monthly column devoted to grieving siblings. Since I will always be “learning the ropes” in regard to mourning the loss of my dear brother, Andrew, my healing journey will never end. However, I am willing to share with others what I have learned and offer comfort to those in need. Since siblings are often the forgotten mourners, I look forward to fostering a community of comfort and friendship among us.

My intention for this column is to feature a thought-provoking work of art each month. I urge you to contemplate how it speaks to you and reflect on it throughout the month. Depending upon how you are feeling, each moment will offer you a different interpretation of the work. Thus, it will nourish your specific need(s) at the time. The piece might evoke laughter, anger, or sadness depending on the day. Experience whichever emotion manifests and do not be afraid to go where it leads you.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions and/or comments. And do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of any assistance. Also, consider submitting your own work of art as a feature for one of our monthly pieces. Establishing a memorial foundation in honor of your loved one is also a work of creation. If you would like your organization to be highlighted be sure to provide us with the details! I wish you a blessed July.






The road is long, my friend,

and not smooth. We expected

the dark forest, the thorns

and unsuspected pitfalls.

We even knew that some

would turn away from us, toward

broader, easier roads. It hurt,

but did not surprise,

when they denied the way and placed traps

for the pilgrims. The sharp iron teeth

snapped shut, broke bone, made much blood.

And so we walked, dragging the brokenness.

Pain became a constant companion,

relieved only by laughter

and the breaking of bread.

In the darkness we sometimes hurt each other

and did not even know what we had done.


The road is long, my friend,

and the journey rough.

This harsh wood

prepared for each one on this path

grows heavy by afternoon.

There’s not much rest.

We walk as strangers in this foreign land with no rest

and yet this uphill road leads to the light of home.

The night is far spent. The day is at hand.

~ Madeleine L’Engle