There are a few things I have been thinking that I want to talk with you about. (You do see that I am hoping these columns are a conversation between COPE families and supporters and me.) Even though I don’t hear back from you, you are welcome to contact me and let me know what your thoughts are as well.
We are in November and that often means a lot of different things for me. Yes, we trade off one extra hour of sleep for months of very early nightfall, keeping most of us in the dark for way too long. And yes, we now face the holiday season, and that comes with gifts and perils (more about that later.)
However, I recently learned that there is a new holiday……Giving Tuesday. The first Tuesday of December has now become a day of charitable giving. Most non- profit organizations (COPE is a registered 501 (c) 3 charitable organization) have events throughout the year to raise the funds needed to keep programs going. Many are now letting their supporters know about this end of the year effort to help support their organizations.
COPE is also gearing up for Giving Tuesday. If you go to our website, copefoundation.org , you can see what we offer, what we have done, and what we are still trying to do. You’ll find writings from our parents, pictures of COPE’s Camp Erin, (our weekend bereavement camp for kids 6-17), wonderful healing tips from our Clinical Director, Michelle Graff, and news about our previous events, awards and honors.
You all know that we do not charge a fee to attend our support groups. These groups are the heart of COPE and a lifeline for so many of us. And yet, we need funds to keep these groups going strong with the wonderful facilitators we are lucky to have.
Our staff and board members do everything we can to raise funds. We go out and approach Foundations and potential donors to help them see how healing grieving families is a life-saving, life giving mission. Seeking support is a full-time job, and one that is the primary mission of our dedicated thirteen member Board of Directors. It is a large part of the work of our Executive Director, Adam Rabinovitch. On December 3, 2019, I am asking you to consider supporting COPE as well.
I became Board President this past January. My wish is to make sure that COPE not only continues to help all the families that need us now, but is there for the ones that will need us in the future. Please celebrate this new holiday, Giving Tuesday, by going to our website and making a donation to support all our families.
And now a word about those other holidays—the ones that are so mired in joy, memories, loved ones, and always, a huge measure of sorrow. I heard about the “empty chair”, where our loved ones would have been, when I first joined COPE. One seat, a constant reminder, an always present companion.
As I was playing with my three year old grandson the other day, in from out of town for a too infrequent visit with Grandma, I realized that this empty chair is not really just one seat. There is no seat for the woman who would have been my son’s wife, the high chairs for his children, the presence of his friends and extended family. It is not one lonely chair—it is a whole history, a promising future, chapters of love and worry that will not ever be. I not only mourn my son and what he was denied in his life, I selfishly mourn the future that was taken from me.
My goals for the holidays this year, and maybe every year, is to share the generosity that I know is in my heart, to remind myself to cherish the wonderful gifts I have been given, take down -time when I feel that I may explode from the weight that I still carry, and hug everyone I can.
Be generous to yourselves, to those you love, even to those you don’t, and maybe hug a few more people. Speak to you soon.