Durham News: Obituaries

Bonnie K. Cohen

Though my Soul may set in darkness it will rise in perfect Light; I have loved the Stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. (The Old Astronomer, Sarah Williams)

On June 4th our beloved Bonnie ascended on the cusp of the waning Moon. Held and cherished by a concentric circle of friends, her precious dog Yoshi close by, Bonnie's time on this Earth ended. The winds came from every direction and froze the Compass Glass, our Great Oak was taken up; and all the mornings of the World have been given a deeper tone. Bonnie continues to grow a magnificent canopy over us: voluminous, trans-formative, a comforting shade, touching the lives of hundreds through kindness and compassion.

Her involvement and contributions within both local and international community was expansive. The children whose homes were orphanages in Guatemala and Mexico were comforted by Bonnie's visits; art supplies and hand washing lessons lovingly delivered.

Bonnie was an elemental legend for many years at the Michigan Women's Music Festival, especially amongst the artists. For fifteen years she relentlessly traveled the halls of Duke Hospital where so many benefited from her art therapy projects and Wellness Program. Created and delivered with the spiritual knowledge and belief that compassionate harmony will hold and restore our hearts no matter how deep the wounds may be.

Bonnie pursued a formal training through the Coaches Training Institute program of San Francisco, CA, and became certified as a Life Coach when the profession was just beginning its early stages of formation. She founded “The Center for Creative Transformation” as she continued her role as a self-declared Fairy Godmother. Imparting wisdom from lifetimes already passed through, cups of tea and steamy soups to soothe, Bonnie sat with so many who were searching to find their “place.” No matter how broken or wilted the flower may be, each one left her home with the capacity to “bounce upward at the end...to let them take their own choice of position.” (Mary Oliver). The elegant lesson of loving others held within her softness and Wild Curls, she gave us permission to practice.

Most recently Bonnie launched into a project telling the story of her beloved Bubbe, Molly Kaplan, through narrative and her extensive collection of outsider art. The project captured the Jewish immigrant experience to be passed on and held with the intention to counter- balance these contemporary times when historical memories are simply erased. This past November, Bonnie traveled to Portland, Maine, where she secured approval for the project and her presentation to be exhibited in July at the Maine Jewish Museum.

Although all of our hearts are in fragments with an encompassing grief, Bonnie would not want us to stop for one moment doing whatever we can do to help others through compassionate generosity and kindness, much in the same spirit that those angels on earth from Transitions Hospice helped her. Bonnie's legacy and example insists that we continue with her mission to do good work. To always Light the roadway in both directions. Several days before she journeyed on, Bonnie, the self-proclaimed “Seasoned Life & Relationship Coach / Explorer Of The World / Curator Of Memories” asked us this question: “How do I tell people about this extraordinary time... how will I explain it?”

Please join Bonnie's community of friends for a Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 25th at 2:30 p.m. at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham, NC 27707. Come so that we may honor and give thanks to a woman who gave with such natural abundance, as if guided by the Tides. Maybe she will share a few more answers after all.

Per Bonnie's request, in lieu of flowers and our dwindling honey bees, your tax exempt donations can be made to Molly’s Minstrels through the Resource Center for Women & Ministry in the South: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1440975 or on the Molly's Minstrels website: www.mollykaplan.org/donate-now/