President’s Message – May 2021

Posted by: Adam Rabinovitch | Categories: President's Messages

May brings Mother’s Day so I googled “who started Mother’s Day” and learned that a
woman, Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, started Mother’s Day as a way of
honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. I know certain holidays are just
so challenging for many people and this is a big one. The endless stream of scenes of
laughing, loving mothers and their children is just overwhelming for bereaved parents
and those who mourn the loss of their own mothers.

I just got off a Zoom workshop offered through the new partnership between COPE and
Pinelawn Memorial Park, entitled “How Long Does Grief Last”, presented by a journalist
and bereaved parent, Mark Henricks (ok, this transition is not as strange as it seems.)
Mark lost his 16 year old son, Brady, about five years ago, and maybe as a way to
manage his own grief, began to study the research on how long we grieve. I was afraid
he would tell me that I was supposed to grieve exactly four years and six months, or
something so specific and precise that I was sure I would fail “grieving”. He didn’t. He
did say many of us feel better, slowly and over time. Mr. Henricks said that the research
he reviewed reflects that some bereaved parents, over a four to nine year period, felt
70-90% better. By better I think he meant that we weren’t crippled by our emotions and
we could work and laugh and well, function. But, as you can see, it never goes away for
anyone.

I remember the moments that I could begin to feel my life trying to push up through the
weight of the grief that followed my loss. Like the spring daffodils that just blossomed, or
the perfume of the lilacs that embrace us as we walk by them, my dreams, my
connection to those in my life, also began to blossom. I will always cry about losing my
son Steven, but I don’t cry every day. I will always yearn for one more hug and smile
from him, but my heart is full, in no small part because of the presence of my younger
son and daughter and their families. June 21, 2021, will mark the 13th anniversary of
the tragic accident that ended my son Steven’s life, but when I look back at the awful
first days, months and many years, I am stunned that I am so lucky to have some
simple joys of living grow in my heart as well.

This May, on Mother’s Day, I will think of own mother, very frail and near the end of her
time. And I will think of my children and grandchildren and the wonderful, amazing,
tireless mothers my daughter and daughter-in-law have been during this awful
pandemic year. I will also be grateful for my work with COPE and the laughter and tears
I have shared with so many of my fellow grief travelers—mothers, fathers, siblings,
grandparents, friends.

This Mother’s Day, let’s remember to love all our children– the ones we can hug and
the ones that we wish we could. Let’s love all those whom we cherish. As my friend
Sherry Radowitz has said since she lost her son, Jesse: I am still your mother. Every
day really is a mother’s day. Let’s not be so afraid of it this year.