A non-profit grief & healing organization dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child
COPE Newsletter
January 2019
The Next Level of Healing is Helping

In this Newsletter
Words from Lilly
President's Message
Healing Tips
Calendar of Events
January Passings and Birthdays

Words from Lilly
COPE Founder


The passage of time—20 years that COPE has been helping families in grief.

A New Year—another year our children, siblings and loved ones are gone. 

I’ve decided to choose a positive word to carry me into 2019 that starts with the 1st letter of my name. 
I’ve chosen the word “limitless”...from loss to “limitless” love.

To my daughter, Michelle...

27 years ago you came to me in a dream. You told me you were okay. We were the ones who weren’t okay and we needed to reach out to help each other. I awoke with a vision of parents and siblings coming together for support.

When we didn’t know how to help ourselves, we helped each other. And in helping each other we helped ourselves.

I could never have imagined COPE growing to the size it has become in 20 years, and being a lifeline for so many families. 

Parents, siblings and friends are joining our board and the momentum is strong. I’d like to thank our past officers, Judy Berg and Bill Slovin for their love and support. And welcome our new officers: Sandy Wolkoff as President; Larry Mergentime, Vice President; Sherry Radowitz, Treasurer; and Deborah Barrett Anderson, Secretary.

I am excited about the new energy that Sandy and the other officers will bring to our COPE community.
I look forward to working with them, always with our families in my mind and heart, to sustain our organization, to continue its support and programs for parents, siblings, grandparents and children, so that fewer families have to grieve alone. 

I’ll be stepping aside from writing my usual newsletter column to allow Sandy and other parents/siblings opportunity to contribute their wisdom and reflections. Some of you may know Sandy from participating in her COPE writing group. The newsletter is another outlet for you to express your unique experiences.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts from time to time and remaining involved with the families and COPE programs.

Wishing you a loving and peaceful New Year,
Founder & President Emeritus 

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President's Message
Not long after my son was killed in a car accident, I wrote an Op-Ed piece in Newsday about a tragic accident that killed several children on a highway in New York.

I shared it with colleagues who knew of my loss and heard from someone I had presented with at an event a few years earlier. She said how sorry she was for my family and added that she had a loss, too, but it wasn’t as great as mine. I replied that tragedies aren’t graded and asked about hers. Her son, about the same age as mine, had been sailing on a small boat in the warm gulf waters off the coast of Florida. A quick jump into the water to cool off ended with a broken back and left him a quadriplegic. We exchanged more emails, always promising to share a meal at the annual conferences we both attended. It took five years for that to happen.

We sat alone as others finished desserts and good byes. It was clear that she and her family had suffered terribly, her son’s agony and despair visible daily. My grief was different. At the end of our conversation I shared that my younger son had just been married. The joy I felt as I looked at my son and his bride was unfettered with sadness. That I could feel that, for those moments, filled me with a sense of hope I had not thought I would ever have again.

How odd that luck and joy can sprout, grow and build roots in the soil of the grief that still defines my family. The joy is measured in moments, the luck appearing like rays of sun as storm clouds make room for them. But I have them.

In this new year, I hope that all our COPE families can find some moments of joy and hope in their lives and that the loving COPE community can lead you to them.

Dr. Sandy Wolkoff, former facilitator of our Bereaved Parents writing group, has been a COPE Board member for six years. We are excited to welcome Sandy as COPE’s new Board President.

Breathing is something we all do, and most of the time we are not even aware of it.

Practicing mindful breathing can calm, energize, and center you. Since breathing is something you can control when you choose to do so, it is a powerful tool to use when fear, worry, guilt, shame, pain, or anger take you to the past or the future.

Focusing on your breath can help you calm yourself and be present. Shall we start? Here is a simple introduction.

Begin by observing your breath. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your abdomen. As you breath in and out watch which hand is moving. That will show you if you are breathing from your chest or from your abdomen. When you want to center yourself, you need to move towards abdominal breathing.

Abdominal breathing is the best way to relax and center yourself. Make this breathing a regular part of your day. Try two practice sessions a day to help yourself experience this benefit.

1. Inhale slowly through the nose, expanding the abdomen, expanding the chest, raising the shoulders
2. Hold for a few comfortable seconds.
3. Exhale deeply, through the nose, in the reverse pattern, slowly dropping the shoulders, relaxing the chest, contracting the abdomen
4. Repeat

Breathing practice is one kind of meditation. To help you further, here is a meditation audio called “Stop and Breathe”, which you can use when you are feeling stuck and in pain, in order to return to your wholeness.

Courtesy of Tildet Varon
Inspirational Speaker, Inner Mastery Specialist, Author
Phone: 631-682-4085

Michelle Graff, LCSW
COPE Foundation Clinical Director
(p) 516-274-0540

COPE partners with Eluna to offer Camp Erin® NYC, a FREE, weekend long grief support camp designed to help children and teenagers ages 6 – 17, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or someone close to them.

This year, Camp Erin® NYC will be from August 23 through 25, 2019.

For more information click here:


21 Parent Support Group
Mid Island Y JCC, 7:00 pm
28 Parent Support Group
East Meadow Library, 7:00 pm
28 Long Island Adult Sibling
COPE at Cedarmere, 7:00 pm

17 Parent Support Group
Syosset Library, 7:00 pm
25 Manhattan Sibling Group
Dasha Flagship, The Galleria 6:15 pm
18 Parent Support Group
United Methodist Church, Ronkonkoma, 7:00 pm
January Passings & Birthdays

Please click here to help us honor and remember the January passings and birthdays of loved ones who were taken from us before their time.
For any updates or corrections to listings of passings and birthdays please contact us at:  info@copefoundation.org

Stephanie Nogid (2017, passing), daughter of Tina Berardi
Alyssa Seaman (2011, passing), daughter of Mary & Donald Seaman
Samantha Karolin (2010, passing), daughter of Mara Karolin
Mark Anthony Governale (2003, passing), son of Diana Roscigno
Lawrence “Larry” Nightingale (2016, passing), son of Paula Nightingale
Andre Graydon (2014, passing), son of Stephanie Draine
Jesse Greene (2015, passing), brother of Sydney Greene 
Alyssa Cicchetti (1988, birthday), daughter of Karen Cicchetti
Joseph Wood (2018, passing), son of Diane Wood
Matthew Russo (2013, passing), son of Audra & Philip Russo
Kaitlin DeSanti (2011, passing), daughter of Denise Kenneally DeSanti
Nicole (2012, passing), daughter of Fredda Nogid
Eloy Conrad Duran III (2010, passing), son of Conrad Duran
Robert F. Miner III (2013, passing), son of Laurie & Robert Miner
Tyler Stuart (2014, passing), daughter of Judy Stuart, sister of Marissa Stuart
Joanna Elizabeth Johnson (2012, passing), daughter of Donna & Jake Johnson, sister of Laura Johnson
Thomas Scanlan (2014, passing), son of Susan Stoger
Allison Jamie Schwartz (1977, birthday), daughter of Christopher Ihm
Sean Lapersonerie (2012, passing), son of Marie Lapersonerie
Mark Paone (1965, birthday), son of Margaret Paone
Alex Hanan (1972, birthday), son of Robert & Andrea Hanan
Mark Yudin (1970, birthday), son of Brenda Yudin
Bryan Herold (1990, birthday), son of Mike Herold
Kaite Gallagher (1976, birthday), daughter of Nancy Gallagher
Angel Rivera (1997, birthday, passing), son of Sandra Melendez
Bryan Selby (2018, passing), son of Bob Selby
Devan Desnoyers (1990, birthday), son of Christine Porter
Clarke Gilbert Russell (1986, birthday), son of Stephanie Benbenek
Shannon Powers (2017, passing), daughter of Donna Powers
Gabriel Hilsenrad (2006, passing), son of Phyllis & Frank Silverman Sivillo
Daniel Aquila (1990, birthday), son of Judy Aquila
Ava Hecht (2009, passing), daughter of Karen Gang
Jeremy Ferrara (2012, passing), son of Karen & Robert Ferrara
Kenneth Grym (2010, passing), son of Kelly Grym
Michael Fodera (1993, birthday), son of Marie Fodera
Daniel “Dee” Babich (1990, birthday) connected to Lauren Sloane
Zayna Connolly (2015, passing), daughter of Sarah & Michael Connolly
Michael Isaacs (2017, passing), son of Cheryl Isaacs
Keith Zerlin (2011, passing), brother of Dana Zerlin
David  (2017, passing), son of Lisa Sattanino
Erin Carlson (1995, birthday), sister of Lauren Carlson
Luciano do Vale (2009, passing), brother of Lucimara Aguirre  
Brendon Redmond (2013, passing), son of Dori Redmond
David Wolfe (1972, birthday), son of Annette Wolfe
Alan Jacobs (2015, passing), son of Linda Comac
Paul Hoffmann (2018, passing), son of Linda Lachere
Maria Verdile (1995, birthday), daughter of Holly Verdile
Scott Sides (1968, birthday), son of Kathy Tessitore
Todd Wirtshafter (1974, birthday), brother of Lisa Robbins
Robin Frank (2018, passing), daughter of Sheila Frank
Patric Martin (2016, passing), son of Niamh Martin
Phillip Starr (2010, passing), son of Michael & Shelly Starr
Sophia Valsalos (2001, birthday), daughter of Tina Valsalos
Lyla Stern (2009, passing), daughter of Donna & Howard Stern
Michael Rath (1995, birthday), son of Kathy Rath
Linda Bruckner (1995, birthday), daughter of Marla Bruckner
Michael Rath (2014, passing), son of Kathy Rath
Adam Wolf (1990, birthday), son of Naomi Wolf
Chris Pelliccia (1977, birthday), son of Arlene Darcy
Joel Preddy (2010, passing), son of Josette Preddy
Alan Cohen (1954, birthday), father of Lindsay Cohen
Shawn Tierney (1985, birthday), son of Robin Tierney, parent of Joyce Mandel
Stephen Richter (1969, birthday), son of Marlene Richter
Joshua (2012, passing), son of Lee Benedetto
Ben Keschl (1992, birthday), son of Liz Keschl
Gilad Vaday (1975, birthday), son of Sara & Shalom Vaday
Keith Stock (2009, passing), son of Tracy Stock
Alvaro Hernandez (2016, passing), brother of Christina Hernandez
Charles “Chuck” Wolfrath (2018, passing), son of Judy Wolfrath
Daniel “Dan” Spellman (1993, birthday), son of Jeff Spellman
David Berg (1992, passing), son of Judy & Richard Berg, brother of Erica Gavin
Brian Harley Assa (2008, passing), son of Jerry & Sandy Assa, brother of Vanessa Assa
Jessica (2018, passing), daughter of John Cleere
Stacie Weiss (1980, birthday), daughter of Mitch & Michelle Weiss
Rachel Small (2005, passing), sister of Hannah Small
Drew Nugent (1993, birthday), son of Johanna Nugent, brother of Kayla Nugent
Christeen Marie Capellupo (1966, birthday), daughter of Kathleen Leonard, sister of Laureen Leto
Mary Eleni Lazarus (1975, birthday), daughter of Eleni Lazarus
Daniel Gordon (2013, passing), son of Nancy Shapiro
Mitchell Kutner (2009, passing), son of Barbara & Steve Kutner
Barry Silverstein (2013, passing), son of Brenda Litzky
Patrick (2016, passing), connected to Barbara Steffans
Christeen Marie Capellupo (2013, passing), daughter of Kathleen Leonard, sister of Laureen Leto
Brian O’Mara (2012, passing), son of Ken & Mary O’Mara
Gayle Ferdschneider (birthday), daughter of Roxanne Ferdschneider
Anthony Krayewski (2007, birthday), son of Danielle & Steven Krayewski
Jeffrey Spiegel (1989, birthday), son of Elaine Winston
Kevin Michael Warren Jr. (2012, birthday), son of Alissa Sorgenfrei
Asher King (1997, birthday), son of Eda Polowczyk
Jeffrey Ryan Buchignani (1989, birthday), son of Jill Buchignani-Calwhite
Clifford H. Johnson Jr. (1970, birthday), son of Elizabeth Johnson
Thomas Bidell (2005, passing), son of Maryanne Bidell
Shaun Brala (2011 passing), son of Lisa & John Brala, brother of Christie Brala
Larry Finkel (1956, birthday), son of Doris Finkel
Giavanna Melomo (1999, birthday), daughter of Gregory & Janine Melomo
Joshua Craig (2013, passing), son of Martina Sternber
Michael Rizzi (1992, birthday), son of Marissa Rizzi
Melissa Scherr (2009, passing), daughter of Rose & Mike Scherr
Robert (1995, birthday), son of Theresa Treimanis
Michelle Julien (1992, passing), daughter of Lilly Julien, sister of Greer & Billy Slovin & Spencer & Dana Julien
Rebekah Frucht (1988, birthday), daughter of Morton Frucht, sister of Joseph Frucht
Alana McClinton (2018, passing), daughter of Joyce Nolan
Nayyira Tahaba Amatul-Majid (1994, birthday), daughter of Kalia Loper
Ruth Piracci (1947, birthday), sister of Ronnie Piracci
Sean Urda (2015, passing), son of Nicole Urda, brother of Tyler Urda
Justin Disharoon (2013, passing), son of Heather Bilton  
Dawn (1984, birthday), daughter of Linda Mueller
Anthony Valente (2010, passing), son of Lynda Valente
Mary Cardone (1952, birthday), sister of Emily Cardone
Say Chiang (1952, birthday), sister of Jeannie Chiang
Jordana Arin Cooper (2010, passing), sister of Jason Cooper
Christina Louise Salazar (1991, birthday), sister of Andrew Rayis
Elisa Rachel Pomeranz (2014, passing), daughter of Dale & Peter Pomeranz
Warren Levitt (2012, passing), son of Carole Levitt, brother of Kenneth Levitt
Ethan Max Williams (2010, passing), son of Michelle Burgess
Stefanie Silverman (1973, birthday), daughter of Rita & Barry Silverman
Lance Topol (2016, passing), son of Arlene Topol
Javiera Pagan (2005, birthday), daughter of Selva Herrara-Pagan
Daniel Bahlkow (1987, birthday), son of Valerie Bahlkow
Abigail Trent (2010, passing), daughter of Amy Persaud
Holly Schuller (1993, birthday), daughter of Ann Schuller
Kenny (2018, passing), son of Donna Bosco
Victoria Riccardi (2008, birthday), daughter of Judy Riccardi
Dana Kraus (2009, passing), sister of Marc & Lexi Sternberg
Keith Ganzer (2012, passing), son of Charlotte Ganzer
Pamela Posen (1968, birthday), daughter of Bonnie & Marty Gregge
Michael Axelrod (2016, passing), son of Joan Axelrod
Alan Jacobs (1986, birthday), son of Linda Comac
Deborah Dolgin (2007, passing), daughter of Judy & Josh Gilman
Kirsten Ramirez (2015, passing), daughter of Marilyn Rodan
Matt Sciacchitano (2016, passing), son of Ron & Elizabeth Sciacchitano
Michael DiGioia (2016, passing), brother of Sam DiGioia
Kenny (1984, birthday), son of Donna Bosco
Michael O’Connell (2018, passing), brother of Jennifer O’Connell
Sarah Fuentes (1987, birthday), daughter of Lucy Fuentes
Monique Iveliz Tartt (2014, passing), daughter of Cynthia & Everett Mojica
Alexis Lauren Harper (2012, birthday and passing), daughter of Stephani Harper

For any updates or corrections to listings of passings and birthdays please contact us at:  info@copefoundation.org
COPE Foundation
PO Box 1251
Melville, New York 11747