As the regular readers of this blog know, I very rarely leave my imprint here. I love my husband and his feisty flourish of words. I love the rants and raves and naked emotion. I even love how profoundly and determinedly wrong he can be about things and people on occasion. I mean, who else lives so boldy outloud? But this is and should be his platform, without the needling of a contradicting wife (or, worse, undermining writing partner).
But Ian asked me to write something about Cooper, so here I am. Struggling.
I don’t think I can articulate much coherently. It’s been an emotional day. Here are a few impressions from the funeral.
I will never forget the way Wendy – Cooper’s aunt – reacted when she saw Ian today. She needed him so much. Sure, Ian hates The Republican Party but, other than that, he’s the least judgmental guy on earth and I think that was the air that Wendy needed to breathe.
And all of us there will remember Cooper’s father Quinn speaking about the moment he heard that his son was dead. His mind went blank and his body went cold. He left work and went to the car and then called home again. “Are you sure? Has someone called the paramedics?” And Jana said, “Quinn, he’s is gone.”
In that moment, Quinn described a kind of striking calm, a clarity, a spiritual strength that washed over him. And that strength has clearly guided him and his family through the unthinkable. Through picking a tiny casket for a little boy. Through choosing a burial site for your kid who’s supposed to start kindergarten in the fall. Through holding your other children as they grieve for their adorable little brother.
Hunter, Cooper’s oldest sister, talked about how she would miss Cooper’s sweet little body cuddled up next to hers. And Duncan, his next oldest brother, muttered “Coop would wake up in my room with a lot a good ideas, like let’s go outside and go swimming. And then we’d run around and say ‘You’re it. No, you’re it. No, you’re it.’ until we got tired and then we’d go swimming again.”
Cooper was a cool kid. He was one million percent boy as much as Lucy is one million percent girl, and, of course, she had a huge crush on him. He was six months and ten days older that her and, by the last time we saw him, he’d become a blur of wild boy fun, jumping in and out of the pool, climbing trees and riding bikes faster than Lucy could say “wait for me.”
Jana, Coop’s mom, is Ian’s first cousin and his first crush. She’s also the person who taught me as much about taking care of a baby as anyone. When I came to the family reunion with 5 month old Lucy, she was there was 10 month old Cooper, effortlessly lugging him around like the best loved sack of potatoes on earth.
I don’t share the same theology as Jana – my spiritual life leaves me with more questions than answers – but in this moment, I’m so grateful that she believes that she will be reunited with her little boy in heaven. For tonight, that’s what I’m going to believe too.