Rosemary's Blog

Twin Love Frogs
February 29, 2008, 4:33 pm
Filed under: Family and Friends

David and Reid Cooper are the twin sons of Diane and Mike Cooper from Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The boys were students at The McCallie School where our sons Drew, Jeremiah, Jordan and Fong also attended.  On February 14, 2007, David Cooper collapsed during crew practice and passed over at the age of seventeen.

Diane Cooper sent me an e-mail shortly after David’s death.  Many of our friends on the McCallie campus had encouraged Diane to contact me because they knew of my work with bereaved parents.  Diane and I bonded instantly on our first phone call.  Her pain was palpable.  Her words could have come from my lips fifteen years earlier when my sons died.  Could I help her? I prayed for wisdom.  I listened.  I learned about the other Cooper children; sons Chase and Reid, and daughter Brett.  I came to know and love both Diane and Mike even though we had never met.

On May 31, 2007, we had a private screening of our documentary, “Space Between Breaths,” in Lexington, Kentucky.  Even though they were only three months into their grief, Diane, Mike and Reid Cooper decided to drive to Lexington for the screening and to attend J.I.M.’s (Joining In Memory) Conference to be held the day following the screening.  Diane told me months later that none of them wanted to come but felt like it might help them at the point they were in their grief.  I distinctly remember Diane saying she thought they all might “run screaming” from the theatre if the film was too painful for them to watch.

Well, the Coopers did not leave the theatre that night.  They sat among eight hundred other people including other bereaved parents until the words of Cindy Bullens’ song, “Better Than I’ve Ever Been,” faded with the last of the credits.  They sat as eleven of the twelve families interviewed for the film were brought up on stage to receive their “Oscars,” a suprise love gift from Dinah and Jim Taylor from Williamsburg, Kentucky.  I will never forget the three of them standing together saying David’s name during the candle light service the following day at the conference.

Reid Cooper has lost his other half, the person he has been with since conception.  How would he move forward with his young life without his twin?  Our son Jordan was eleven when his two older brothers were killed.  He too suffered a great loss.  Like Jordan, Reid had to face a family with important pieces missing.  These bereaved siblings had to learn to deal with parents who were grieving.  They had to try to find a new “normal.”

In the months since the documentary screening, Diane Cooper and I have stayed in close contact.  I am in awe of this woman.  She has chosen to confront her loss in a positive manner.  She is vocal with what she needs.  She is grieving but still reaching out to other bereaved families in the Chattanooga area.

Mike and Diane Cooper asked us to have a screening of our documentary in Chattanooga at The McCallie School in conjunction with a time of rememberance for their son David on the first anniversary of his angel day, Febraury 14, 2008.  The Cooper family had donated a magnificant sculpture to The McCallie School Memorial Walk that was being dedicated on February 14th.  The dedication was a moving tribute to David Cooper and was attended by many family and friends as well as the entire faculty and student body of The McCallie School.

The Twin Love Frogs made their way to the Cooper family the night of February 14th.  Diane and Mike hosted a Reception and Concert by Cindy Bullens the night of the Memorial Walk Dedication for family and friends.  Luther and I were honored to be invited.  We had never met Brett, the six year old daughter of the Coopers.  I had gone to one of our drugstores the day before our trip to Chattanooga to pick out a present for Brett.  WebKinz are the rage in our part of the country.  My grandchildren, Andy and Ashley love them, so I figured that would be the perfect choice for Brett.  Well, there were so many different ones…dogs, cats, horses…then one called a Love Frog seemed to belong to Brett.  The Love Frog had red hearts and David Cooper had always worn red clothes (Reid had worn blue) so that represented David to me.

On the night of February 14th, we first met Brett Cooper.  What must she have been thinking with her home full of family  and friends and some people she didn’t even know?  There were over fifty incredible photos of either the twins or David displayed alongside a wall of rememberance.  As I handed Brett the small bag with the Love Frog, she shyly said “Thank you,” and moved behind her mother.  I caught sight of Brett about an hour later and she had a Love Frog in each hand!  Diane came over to us and said another friend had brought Brett the exact same WebKinz…now she had Twin Love Frogs!

Only two people brought presents to Brett on the night of David’s Rememberance.  I am not bragging but just honored to have brought one of two Love Frogs.  Without knowing, the two of us had played a role in bringing “Twins” back to the Cooper family.  I’m sure this was a message from their son David.