Words from COPE President and Founder Lilly Julien

The New Year brings the dread of another anniversary for my daughter and husband who passed in late January, on the same date eight years apart. All my emotions rise to the surface and I’m filled with overwhelming sadness. Even after so many years…

This timely email link gives words to what I am feeling. In a reply to a young man dealing with grief, an old man writes about the waves of grief and how they change with time.


“In the beginning, the waves don’t even give you time to catch your breath, All you can do is hang on and float”

But in time, the waves aren’t as tall and come further apart. And “in between waves, there is life.”

And though years and even decades pass, the waves never stop. But “on an anniversary, you can see it coming, and for the most part, prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side.”

I’ve learned to prepare — to construct a plan. This year, it’s scheduling treatments to nurture myself; to retreat and find relaxation and calm; to look at pictures and feel that missing connection. In these days leading up to the anniversary, I realize the fragility of this plan. I know that in an instant that wave can come and defeat my intentions. I may not be able to carry out the plan or reach for the tools. But having them empowers me.

“The waves never stop coming,” the old man says, “and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too.”

Though the remembering is painful, I wouldn’t want to forget. The pain and the love are all a part of me.

“My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love.”

Stay Warm. Stay Safe,
COPE President and Founder