Click here to see a video of COPE families walking the labyrinth
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COPE Labyrinth Photo Gallery
To read a Wall Street Journal article on labyrinths, please click here.
Thank you to those who were able to join us on Monday, July 25th for our summer dedication ceremony. For those of you who were unable to attend, please see below the touching words of Lilly Julien, COPE’s founder.
Today we are dedicating benches and bricks at our beautiful labyrinth, in loving memory of our beloved children, siblings and loved ones—who remain a cherished part of our lives.
It’s not easy being here today. Seeing our loved ones’ names etched in stone is a very harsh reality of their absence. It is our tragic losses that connect us.
There’s a lot of love pouring in and surrounding this path—connecting us with them and also with each other.
As we honor them today, I choose to think that they’re with us, and feeling our love.
I’ve been told that butterflies, like birds, carry messages. Because they fly at a very high frequency they can pick up vibrations of our loved ones and be a sign of their presence.
On the day of the brick installation, I was sitting here on a bench planning the dedication. A butterfly hovered close by and rested on my arm. It fluttered from my arm to my neck, to my face, and to my lips. It then flew to the man who installed our labyrinth and lingered by him. I couldn’t help but think that it was a message from our loved ones saying, “Thank You”.
After the bricks were laid, I walked around. As I read each brick and plaque, I experienced an outpouring of love. Your words are powerful. They bring an energy into the labyrinth that connects us to those we love. Like the heart, the labyrinth is a container that holds our love and energy. When our hearts are open, they grow bigger. And they’re able to hold both our love, and our pain.
Nearly 25 years ago, after the loss of my daughter Michelle, she came to me in a dream. Her words were the inspiration of COPE and all that it stands for. She said to me, “I’m okay. You’re the ones who aren’t okay. And you need to reach out and help each other.” That’s exactly what each one of you is doing every time you reach out to another person who has lost a loved one, each time you reach out to another bereaved parent, sibling, or friend.
This is how we are embracing our community. The next level of healing is helping. In helping each other we help ourselves. With help comes hope.
I believe our children have brought us together. How ironic that our COPE memorial would be a labyrinth…Connecting Our Paths Eternally; bringing us together on this sacred ground, surrounded by a circle of bricks dedicated to our beloved children, siblings, and loved ones.
COPE parents and siblings shared readings about the labyrinth…
The labyrinth is an ancient symbolic path, thousands of years old, with healing and spiritual significance. It can represent life’s journey or a spiritual pilgrimage.
Unlike a maze with its tricks and dead ends, the labyrinth has only one path that takes you to the center, a place for rest, prayer, or meditation. The same path then leads you out again.
Walking the labyrinth often produces a calming, centering feeling. The constant turning, required by the path, calms the mind and quiets the body, inducing a receptive state for meditation and contemplation.
By walking a labyrinth, we are taking the time to connect with ourselves, to heal, find peace, and reach out to our loved ones.
As you begin to walk the labyrinth there is a releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This act of shedding thoughts and emotions quiets and empties the mind.
When you reach the center, you’ve reached a place of openness, where you can remember and receive. Finally you leave the center renewed and ready to return.
Walking the labyrinth in a group teaches us that we are all on the path together, even though we may be in different places on our journey.We then formed a circle standing by our dedicated benches and bricks and said the names of our children, siblings, and loved ones.
The following are the names of your cherished loved ones for whom you have dedicated your benches and your bricks…
Dedicated bench for MICHAEL SCOTT BLOOMBERG
Dedicated bench for RUSSELL HUNTER CIOLLI & CHRISTOPHER MARQUARDT
Dedicated bench for CHRISTINA ELYSE ANGELO
Dedicated bench for SAMANTHA ROSE MERGENTIME
Dedicated bench for JENNIFER TAYLOR BELL
Dedicated founder’s bench for MICHELLE JULIEN, DAVID BERG, SHARON GALLUCCI