Friday, August 25, 2006

I’m not sure I will be able to put into words what we have experienced over the last couple of days. Even though we believe with our heads that God is in control and that He has a purpose and plan for everything, it is very difficult right now for our hearts to embrace that. As each day passes, it seems to get a little easier but it still seems so unreal to know that Barbara Cooper is gone. When we got the call Wednesday morning, as Lamar rushed over to their house which thankfully is in our neighborhood, I got the kids up and we sat at the kitchen table and began to pray for God’s mercy that she was okay. Before we finished with our prayer the phone rang and Lamar told us that she was really gone. While this grief was very familiar to us because we felt it so strongly in those first days of Jonathan’s illness, there was something completely different about it. With Jonathan, there was always a twinge of hope lingering that something would change. This grief held nothing but finality with it. Grandma Cooper had many aches and pains, as all of us do. She had had surgery on her shoulder in the past and it made it hard for her to sleep in the bed because of the lingering pain in her arm. Often she would get up during the night and go sleep in her recliner in the family room right outside her bedroom. Grandma Cooper also was a Type 2 diabetic. We are told that she had been having very low blood sugars in the morning that week (down in the 40s). What we assume happened is that she got up and went to sleep in her recliner and because of her low blood sugar, she slipped into a coma and died sometime in the early morning hours. Grandpa Cooper got up about 7 am to come wake her up. When she did not respond, he touched her and found her not breathing and already cold. She was actually sitting in his recliner instead of her own which was unusual. After calling 911 and determining that she was gone, he called us. Thanks to my family and our friends, people were here to stay with the kids so I could go be with Lamar. We were able to sit at their house while we waited for the family to arrive and the funeral home to take her body. She looked just like she was sleeping, very peaceful. The only blessing we could come up with that day was that she was not hurting or in pain when she went to heaven. The shock of the reality that she was really gone was too much and overshadowed every thought. After her body was taken from the house, we got some things together and went to the funeral home that afternoon to make the arrangements. We spent 4 ½ hours in the strangest place, doing the strangest things that we never imagined we would be doing that day. I can’t explain it other than to say it was just a weird place to be; it just didn’t seem real. That night, after we were back together, just Lamar and me and the kids, we talked some more, cried and tried to calm some fears in their hearts and minds. This is the first experience with death that we as a family have ever had. Even though you know the day is coming, you are never prepared for it, no matter how hard you try. Fortunately, Lamar was able to sleep, but the kids and I found it very hard to sleep. The kids were afraid; they were trying to understand why but just couldn’t process it all. So we gathered all our mats, went into the game room and watched movies and played video games until we were finally able to fall asleep. Yesterday we spent the day planning the service and getting the program ready. Lamar did a beautiful job of designing the program and we were able to find an awesome picture of her from earlier this year when she graduated from Criswell College. I can’t look at that picture for long because her life just reaches out and grabs me and makes her death seem even more unreal. Today was easier in some respects; we were able to laugh and talk and exist for longer periods of time before the tears would begin to fall again. Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent at the funeral home with the family viewing her body. We took the kids to see her for the first time. I was amazed at their strength. Elizabeth is our very sensitive one. She can hardly handle these difficult situations; it makes her sick at her stomach. But she was able to stand and touch her Grandma and run her fingers through her hair, just like she remembers doing in her life. She did not spend a lot of time in there, but she did a beautiful job. Sarah is a very strong person in difficult situations. She never seemed to need to cry; she was always right by Grandma’s side, touching her, fixing her hair, wanting to know all there is to know about what is going on. Before we left, she did break down and cried very hard. Her Grandpa was suddenly the man of strength we know him to be and he stooped down beside her and told her how much he and Grandma loved her, how much Jesus loved Grandma and how this was not good-be, only see you later. It was a precious moment with her and her Grandpa. Jonathan has surprised me. He has not cried since Wednesday morning. He never cried when he saw her body. He touched her and stayed as long as he had to, but he mostly spent his time outside the room where her body was. He has done a lot of worrying. His little mind cannot process what is going on. Everything has happened to fast and so unexpected that he doesn’t know what to do with it all. He has been a strong little man emotionally. But he is afraid. We had some wonderful visits with our extended family yesterday. We were all able to sleep much better last night and for that I am so thankful. Today we will have the viewing in the Sanctuary at First Baptist Church, Dallas from 6-8 pm. The funeral will be Saturday morning at 10 am at First Baptist Church, Dallas.
Thank you for praying for our family this week. Thank you to all of you who have emailed me with your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. I am overwhelmed by your love for us. Please pray for us over the next couple of days. Pray for the kids as each one of them deals with this in their own way. Pray for Elizabeth, that she will be able to handle the grief of the funeral. She is afraid she will not be able to make it without throwing up. This is a very real issue for her. Pray for sweet Sarah, as I know this last good-bye will be hard for her. Pray for Jonathan that he will not be afraid and that if he needs to cry he will be able to do so. All of us are grieving in different ways as Barbara was someone different to all of us. To the kids she was an awesome Grandma. To me, she was a wonderful mother-in-law. To Lamar she was his precious mother. But to Dad, she was his wife. Please, please lift Dad us in your prayers this weekend. I can’t even imagine the grief he is experiencing. There will be a time at the close of the funeral for our family to say our last goodbye to our Mom and Grandma. Please pray for us at that point as it will be just as hard, if not harder than the moment we found her. Pray that all of our hearts will heal and will begin to see God’s hand at work in all of this. Pray that we will trust in the Lord with our whole hearts and not lean on our own understanding. Pray that we will bring God glory, even through death, knowing that He has promised to be with us. We love each of you.

Romans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones. Psalm 166:15

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