My family experienced a deep loss on September 12th, 2011. My Uncle Gary, my grandparents eldest child, passed away very unexpectedly. This was a test on our family, the first tragedy that we’ve had to deal with. Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve experienced our share of downfalls-divorce, illness, financial setbacks, disappointments, broken hearts…but a loss like the death of a child & a brother, this was a new level of pain. But, my family is strong, tough. God is good to my family.
Uncle Gary’s passing was heartbreaking, but he lived well…really well. He raised an amazing, loving family, who in turn, are raising his amazing, loving grandchildren. He loved well. He loved his wife, Linda, with all his heart & provided her true happiness & rock-solid strength. He was a trusted friend. He was my grandparents first-born, and with that role sealed a spot in their heart that could never be replaced. A best friend to his siblings & a link to their own personal histories. And as an uncle, well you don’t get any better than Uncle Gary.
I’m an optimist. Positivity is my element, so I choose to not reflect on the pain that will forever be present. Instead, I reflect on how proud I am to be a part of the Cooper family. My grandparents remain the epitome of hard-work, love, and faithfulness to God. They’ve prayed for their family throughout their whole lives, in times of trouble & rest. Our family is a testament to how good God is to those that remain in him.
Through this experience, I’ve realized what a privilege it was to be born into the Cooper family. To have a set of grandparents that have so much love for their family it bleeds from them. To have aunts & uncles that care, really care, about you. They are mentors, teachers, advisors, & some of the biggest supporters. They cheer you on with encouragement during your struggles & are joyful in your victories. They have a way of talking to you, guiding you, that is different from your parents. And cousins…the best part of the family tree. Your second set of siblings. Cousins that you grow with, fight with, cry with, laugh with & play with. Cousins that are forgiving of your mistakes, make fun of you in the way that only “cousins” can, have an endless supply of childhood memories you can share, & a future so wide of time spent together. What a treasure they are! I’m so fortunate to be related to some of my closets friends.
My family has stuck together, pulled together, during this time of hurt & healing. I’m so proud…so incredibly proud…to be part of the Cooper family. God is good.