I lost my older sibling Sean 22 years ago. He was 25 and I was just shy of my 21st birthday. While my friends were off celebrating their 20’s in college. I was home, trying to cope with this unimaginable pain and loss.
Shortly after Sean’s passing, I attended a “shiva call” for a family friend. Shiva is a long period of mourning in the Jewish religion followed by someone’s death that traditionally lasts seven days. It was then that I was introduced to a woman named Lillian Julian. I was drawn to her immediately; it was as if I had know Lillian for a lifetime. I learned that she had lost her daughter several years prior in a tragic car accident. Her family was feeling the same type of pain and lack of closure that I was feeling.
Lillian later turned her greatest tragedy into something beautiful and profound when she became one of the founders of COPE, an organization that began as a local support group for parents living with the loss of a child and quickly grew.
COPE helped my mother and I through the most unimaginable experience of our lives, so about a year and a half ago I decided to introduce the foundation to DASHA®.
On the morning before the SHAPE Half Marathon that I ran in my brother’s honor earlier this month, I got a series of texts from my best friend saying that she was getting all of these signs from Sean. “That’s great,” I thought. “But Sean, where’s my sign!?”
Sure enough as my team was packing up to leave for the office for the weekend, I got my sign.
My girl who typically stays late to keep the office open as COPE runs their monthly group meeting had to call out due to a family emergency and I was the only one who could cover.
“I was 100% physically prepared for the race on Sunday, now was time for me to get mentally prepared.”
When I first brought the organization to DASHA®, it was to provide a healing tool for my clients. I always felt reluctant to walk over and participate in the group myself because I tend not to open up emotionally in front of my employees. But once I sat down, the people all seemed familiar, just like when I met Lillian all of those years ago.
It felt comforting to share my story of grief and listen to others share theirs. About six of us had experienced the loss of a sibling due to causes that ranged from drug addiction to car accidents to infectious diseases.
“Life goes on but it’s up to us to keep the memories of our ‘Seans’ alive.”
My experience that night was so uplifting that it made me realize I’m never going to be done working on ME. I will definitely be attending more of these meetings as a way to improve myself.
I am so grateful that COPE has chosen DASHA® as a safe haven for their members to come and share. If you are interested in attending a COPE Sibling Event, click here.