East Hills, NY (PRWEB) December 04, 2012
The holidays are a difficult and emotional time for many people. For those who are grieving, the holidays can be fraught with anxiety and sadness, especially if one has had a loss in the past year. In fact, living through the holidays feels, to some, like walking through a minefield. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many families already in grief in the New York Metropolitan area will be finding these holidays even more difficult. The loss of homes, belongings and general sense of security and well-being threaten to amplify the grief already felt by bereaved families who will need more support this holiday season than ever before. COPE (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), a grief and healing organization helping parents, siblings and families living with the loss of a child, offers tips for coping with the holidays after a loss.
“Here at COPE, we hope to bring some relief to a challenging time of year to those who have lost a cherished loved one,” says Laraine Gordon, LCSW, COPE’s Clinical Director. She offers the following suggestions for those who are grieving during this holiday season:
Lilly Julien, President and Founder of COPE, personally has had to work through these difficulties during the holiday season since losing her 20-year-old daughter Michelle in 1992. “Soon after my daughter passed, I had no interest in doing holidays at all. Now, years later, I’ve found ways to bring my daughter into our holiday gatherings by having her picture visible, encouraging family to share a memory, and always making a toast to her,” says Ms. Julien. With regards to the additional issues caused by Hurricane Sandy, Ms. Julien remarks: “Not only trees but lives have been uprooted. Once again, in the aftermath of the storm of losing a child, we rediscover our lives suddenly changed.”
COPE will be holding a special candle lighting service and healing workshop on Sunday, December 9th at 7pm at the Elias Hicks Home in Jericho in honor of National Children's Memorial Day to help grieving families in the area work through this difficult time. 20% of all families in the United States at any one time are living with the loss of a child. One in seven Americans loses a parent or sibling before the age of 20. Additionally, nearly three percent of men and 12 percent of women in the United States are widowed.
COPE, a not-for-profit foundation, 501(c)(3), is dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Since 1999, COPE has served the needs of approximately 500 families on Long Island and the greater New York City area by providing emotional, therapeutic and spiritual programs (at no cost to participants). These include parent and sibling support group meetings, individual one-on-one support, alternative healing workshops, and a variety of special programs for clergy and mental health professionals. COPE also runs Camp Erin New York City, a bereavement camp for children ages 6-17 suffering from a major loss. In addition to assisting local families, COPE’s grief hotline and website enable the organization to provide grieving individuals outside of Long Island with immediate support and resources and referrals. Anyone interested in donating to COPE or learning more about the organization can do so online at http://www.copefoundation.org. For more information on COPE, please contact Karen Flyer, Executive Director, at 516-484-4993 or karen (at) copefoundation (dot) org.