But, I Survived Part 2


My hands are shaking and my forehead is sweating. I feel like a preacher in the Baptist church. I need my hand towel to wipe the sweat from my brow. They can’t tell I am nervous. Well, maybe the people sitting in the front row can. Now my hands are shaking as I adjust the microphone. I can do this. Throwing the speech away may not have been the smartest idea. Oh well here goes.

My story isn’t one that is special. Although I think that it would make a great reality tv show. You know what they say about picturing people in their underwear. Not the best advice either at this time.

Do they really want to hear me talk? Or do they want to ask me questions? Just thinking that they used the words motivational speaker and Brooke Copher in the same sentence may have been a mistake.

When I began my story. One day on East Outer Drive in Detroit, Michigan, my confidence began to grow. I was giving away details from my memoir. But that didn’t matter. People were listening.

I spoke from the heart and I prayed that God would give me wisdom. I paused so that I could answer questions. This was the best part. It gave parents and caregivers the chance to ask intimate details about autism, my divorce, and life after divorce. I was only supposed to speak on autism but that rarely ever happens. By the time I am done. I also talked about wine, performed a quick stand up comedy routine and Jesus.

What if they are judging me? Well, it was too late. I had opened a can of worms and my secrets were out. Some women shed tears. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. Maybe because the tears of my divorce are over. The tears of autism still manage to find a way to break me down.

If this audience took anything away from my speech. I wanted them to know that they should never follow someone else’s path. All of our situations and circumstances are different. We don’t need to follow the trail that someone has already paved for us. Be a pioneer and a trailblazer. Create your own road map, and trail.

As I spoke to the audience many thoughts ran through my mind. Six years ago I would have never let anyone know the struggles that I was facing. Now I am sharing my story with all that will listen. Will I touch 1,000 people? My goal is to only touch one.

If my words can inspire, and encourage one person to stand on faith despite their situation. Then I have done what I have set out to do by sharing my testimony.

It is easier for me to speak about my situation with others.  I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed of what I have endured. Instead I am sharing my challenges with others to offer a sense of hope.

When I think about the things that should have killed me or broken me. I look at myself in the mirror and say to myself. “ I fell apart, but I survived. And you will survive too.


But, I Survived


Speaking in front of my first graders is easy. Half of the time, they are trying to tie their shoes or wanting to go to the bathroom. Speaking in front of adults can be difficult for me. I do better when it is an impromptu speech. When someone gives me a topic and a week before the event to prepare. I am a nervous wreck.

In five minutes I will be asked to share my story. The journey of autism, how it changed my life, affected my marriage, Harrison, and my relationship with others. My hands began to sweat and I felt a hot flash coming on. I will never see this people ever again. So if I make a fool of myself. It is all a part of life.

I don’t want pity. I am here to spread autism awareness. I can’t make it seem like I have it all together. Because that is far from the truth. What I do on a daily basis takes grit, power, prayer and determination.

My speech is ready. I remember the public speaking points that Carmen Harlan taught me when I met her in high school. Today felt different. I didn’t want to use the speech. It was filled with what these parents wanted to hear. The obvious is that I have no idea what their lives are like. What I see as a struggle. Might be a walk in the park for them.

They just called me to the stage. I threw my speech in the trash and walked to the podium. When I looked out at the audience from the podium. I only knew one face in the crowd. This was a train wreck and the train hadn’t left the station yet.

It was in that moment, my world changed, my book was born and I finally decided on a title.

To be continued….


Adventures in Autism


It was March 16, 2018. We are almost finished with our third appointment at AI Hospital. It really stinks that this is how we had to spend part of our day off from school. But that’s autism.

We received a great report from the last doctor. He even commented on how Sydney was attentive during the appointment and answered his questions without my prompting.

The good news was that we could begin to wean Sydney off one of her medications. Instead of returning in three months. We were cleared to return in six months. That was huge! We had to have a quick dance party in the office before we left to celebrate.

Sydney did a great job. Harrison decided to stay home this trip. I don’t blame him. Someone should be enjoying sleeping in on a day off from school. He deserves it.

As we were leaving the hospital. I had this brilliant idea. We should stop at the mall on the way home. In Copher’s Community, we don’t do the mall. We do online shopping and Amazon.

I was feeling adventurous, possible cray cray and sleep deprived. I didn’t mention anything to Sydney. Just in case I changed my mind on the drive home.

We were approaching the mall. You can’t miss it from Route 1. When I took the exit for the mall. Sydney’s face was beaming, as I watched her from the rear view mirror. What thirteen year old teenager wouldn’t love a trip to the mall?

Thank God we found a parking  spot. We were only going in one store, The Disney Store. Sydney still had her gift card that her father gave her at Christmas.

Sydney was excited to get inside of the mall. She quickly remembered where The Disney Store was and went ahead of me. It was nice to see some friendly faces. We bumped into one of Syd’s former teachers. I think that was the push I needed to shop and not run for the doors to leave.

When Sydney entered the store. She greeted the workers. They knew Sydney from four years go when she opened The Disney Store. Sydney was such a different kid back then. Our dear friend Michele wasn’t working but the other workers took great care of us.

I gave Sydney room to shop. I reminded her how much money she had to spend. She has been collecting Animator Plush Dolls. So she was excited to see the selection.

My goal was for her to not get all toys. I showed her the beach towels and t-shirts. She immediately found two shirts that she liked. It was great because they were buy one get one 50% off. I taught her well.

She didn’t pay attention to the sizes. I think she is use to online shopping when you just select your size. This was different. I helped her find her size and she was fine.


The store wasn’t crowded. Syd went to the table to color and watch the movie clips. In the past I would have cringed when other children came over to Syd. But she smiled, said hello and shared the crayons.

I searched the clearance rack for a shirt for Harrison. While glancing back at Sydney. She was doing great. I would have never done this before. I would have been hovering off her like a helicopter.
For a quick moment, I noticed that Syd began to color very hard on the paper. That was my cue that sensory overload was kicking up. Time to roll out. I gave her a three-minute warning. She did great cleaning up and waiting in line to pay.

Our trip to the mall was great. We felt normal. When we were leaving she said “Let’s build a bear and Justice.” Slow down baby girl. Let’s save that for trip number two. The mall was getting crowded and we weren’t pushing our luck.

Sydney has never done a Build a Bear. Yes, she’s 13 but maybe our next trip could include Build a Bear and a trip to Claires. We found another gift card from her father we need to spend.

Sorry if my blog bored you. If you have been following our autism journey. Then you know I stepped out of my comfort zone. I didn’t have any backup. I had Jesus!!!!

At the end of the day we all smiled at the victories we accomplished on March 16, 2018.

I’m Having One of Those Days


When I left work at 8:30 pm Wednesday night. I was looking forward to picking Sydney up from my parents house. Then going home to spend some time with Harrison. Before we would have to get up early the next day.

When I arrived at my parents house. Sydney was upstairs. Before I could get upstairs. I could hear her voice. It was a sound a mother knows. I had a feeling in my stomach. All I could think of was not tonight. Any night but just not tonight.

Autism doesn’t take a day off. The time change, the change in her schedule, Sydney being tired, the fact I didn’t let her wear the blue dress all could have led us to this very moment.

I haven’t felt that helpless in a long time. Sydney was having a meltdown. Her aggression and frustration overwhelmed me. She had the strength of an army. The more I prayed, the louder she screamed.

How do I keep her safe? She’s taller than me now and I had difficultly trying to have her sit on the floor with me. Thank God I am with family. No judgement zone. But what if I was at the park, church, or a doctor’s appointment?

The episode was finally over. But my tears were just starting. I made sure she was calm enough for the ride home. When we arrived home. Harrison came to the rescue and we all sang to her. Blackbird by The Beatles.

Sydney didn’t fall asleep until 11:00 pm. She was calmer but still whimpered. I would have to wait until the next day to investigate. What the hell just happened?

I felt defeated. I felt hopeless and I felt lost. I didn’t focus on all of the success that Sydney has accomplished. The visions of the meltdown played over in my head nonstop. I went to the bathroom sat on the edge of the tub and cried.

In moments like that I feel so alone and angry. Then I snap out of it. Have a little talk with Jesus and pray that tomorrow will be a better day.


I will have these days. My goal is to keep Syd safe. I reached out to the special ed department in my district. I asked if I could attend the next CPI training as a “parent”. A parent never wants to have their child restrained. I would feel better if I have the knowledge of what to do in a situation that escalates quickly.

Tomorrow’s blog is much happier. It is proof that weeping may endure for a night but joy always comes in the morning.


The Day She Tried to Make a Friend


I remember the days when I would drive out of my way to avoid Sydney seeing a park. The sight of a park would spark screeching, screams, and a tantrum. This was before she had the language to express that she wanted to go to the park.

If we went to the park. It would be at 7:00 am when it was empty. It really wasn’t fun for Harrison. As much as he loved exploring the park. He really was bored.

The moment that I saw another car drive up. I would feel a knot in my stomach. Please don’t let them come to the swings. Please let them go on the walking trail. Please don’t let them have a dog. Please don’t let them ask me what is wrong with Sydney.  Please don’t.

When the other normal families joined us at the park. I never sat down. Harrison would run off and play with the other children. He would look back at me for the okay nod and smile. I wanted him to interact with other children. It was my job to chase after Sydney. At least she wasn’t throwing rocks at the other children like this kid was doing at the park. You call that normal. Then I guess we will be just fine.

A few weeks ago Sydney asked me to stop at the park in our development. It was nice out and I thought why not. When we pulled into the parking lot. I noticed a few families. I set the timer for 30 minutes and we were off.

I did my best to back off and give Syd her space. She was having fun. She would look at me and say, “This is awesome.” There were three girls about her age that joined us at the park. Sydney kept watching them. I could tell that she wanted to go over to them.

I heard her say “Hello”, “Hi,”, “YooHoo”. But still no answer from the girls. My ghetto switch flipped for thirty seconds. What kind of parents do these kids have? Don’t they know how to speak when someone says hello? I was digging my shoes in the dirt. But I probably looked like a bull getting ready to charge. The way my foot was swinging back and forth.

Sydney tried her best to get the girls attention. I head her say Sydney and they didn’t acknowledge her at all. My heart sank. I fought back tears and I felt so bad for Sydney.

She wasn’t yelling, grunting or having a tantrum. She was trying to join the group to play. She wanted to be included and not play in isolation.

What did I learn from this encounter? I learned that Sydney might be alone and not included in social situations. I realized that I won’t always be there to help Sydney.  If I wasn’t there, would she have kept trying to talk to the girls? I will never know.


I am not sure if I could have handled the situation differently. I know that I am proud of Sydney for trying to make a friend. Not a friend for life. Just a friend to play with for 30 minutes.

The social part of autism is hard. As Sydney gets older I can only imagine what it will be like for her. I worry about high school. I worry about her 8th grade formal. I worry. I worry. I worry. She might not always be able to make a new friend. Sydney knows that her family and our friends love her. I guess that is all that really matters.

Are You A Diamond Or A Penny?


Diamonds sparkle but you can never find a penny when you need one. At least that is the case for me. We all need reminders. We set them on our phone. We use post it notes and write a to do list that never ends.

There are times when you need reminders of what you need to do in your life. Then there are times when you need to remind people who you are.

We have all been taken for granted by someone we love or trusted. We are caught off guard. How we respond is important. Last week I had to remind someone of what they had. What they lost.

I was a diamond but he was more concerned with picking up pennies at the time. If you are going to pick up pennies. At least pick up pennies that shine and don’t look dirty and dull. Just saying.

He couldn’t see the brightness and power of my diamond because I kept it hidden for moments like this. How quickly people realize their mistakes.

The beauty of being a diamond is that most people will see your qualities before you even speak. Those are your people. Life has humbled me, taught me my worth and made me love myself for who I am.

Don’t get me wrong. Pennies are good. But it takes 100 pennies to make a dollar.

You Can’t Skip The Struggle


The struggle, we always run from the struggle. We try to avoid it at all cost. But the struggle is actually a sign. It is a sign that once you conquer the struggle you are closer to your goal.

Yesterday I spoke with a friend. We started talking about staying healthy and making time for myself. I was thankful that she shared her journey with me. Hearing her talk about her success, the process and even the struggle was inspiring. It gave me hope.

If you are like me you want to skip the struggle and get straight to good part. It doesn’t work that way. The struggle is what we must endure to guide and motivate us. This will help us navigate through the process.

The struggle that I am facing is definitely one that will cause me to adjust my mindset, use creativity and make myself a priority. Will it be hard? Yes. Will I want to give up? Probably. Will I quit? I am afraid that I might.

I am afraid that I won’t have the strength, or courage to endure the struggle. I am afraid to fail. Today, I accepted the fact that the struggle is real. But I was not built to break. I won’t skip the struggle this time. I will embrace it and allow it to mold me.

Are you facing a struggle today? Trust me it is not going anywhere until you comfort it head on. You may need guidance from a friend like I did to get you thinking of how to succeed. Don’t skip the struggle. It will inspire you so that you can an inspiration to others.