|Sadly, we lost our dear friend Jim Cooper this past week. You may remember our visit to Kalama, Washington with Jim & Pat in 2009. We had such a wonderful time. Jim took us for a drive up the Kalama River and we stopped for a lovely lunch and visit with their friends. After lunch, Larry & I both fed the 'resident' deer. It was open hunting season and the doe's were protecting their young by 'hiding' at their home. It was a terrific day. The following day we visited Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. A lovely drive with plenty of chatter and laughs along the way. Such a special few days spent together.
We lived near each other and worked together for over 20 years in Las Vegas before they moved to Kalama to be near their son David & his family. Even though they were many miles of separation between us, our friendship continued through calls, cards and e-mails. And as the years passed, when we would finally see each other again, it was like we'd never been apart. You know, with real friends, the closeness is constant and real even as we go about living our separate lives.
Jim had been struggling with cancer for some time and had endured several rounds of chemo. His strength was compromised and his immunity low. He developed pneumonia in one lung and was hospitalized for a few days, then released to his home. A few days later, he returned to the hospital & was diagnosed with pneumonia in both lungs and MRSA, a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It seems he contracted MRSA during his first hospitalization. Jim was moved to hospice in the afternoon and quietly passed later that evening. His pastor & wife visited earlier that evening and Pat shared that Jim was able to join in singing two hymns with them, even though earlier that day his speech was garbled & basically unintelligible. She said it was so sweet & pure, amazing! We're not surprised. Jim was quite the singer and musician. We loved hearing him play and sing. I remember going to the prison in Jean, Nevada with Jim & Pat, where he was chaplain, to join in one of the many Sunday worship service's. His voice and passion for the Lord saved many men at that facility.
Larry & I will remember Jim most for his quick laugh, his wonderful smile, the ongoing twinkle in his eye and that beautiful head of silver hair! Jim loved serving the Lord and was always up for questions, comments and the occasional debate. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved sending me his favorite blond jokes! He called Larry 'brother' and truly meant it in the best sense of the word. He was a true friend indeed. We pray his family will gather strength from each other. I know they will rally round to support Pat, as will the many friends who love her. Jim will be greatly missed. But I will end this post with a poem that is very befitting, author unknown, as we have found that more than one person claims to be the author. I only know that Jim was God's child and that he felt exactly as described below. Rest in peace dear friend....
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path that God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard His call
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found the peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joys-
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Oh yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief-
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts, and peace to thee-
God wanted me now; He set me free.