Today, we remember and celebrate the life of Rosalie Cooper. Unfortunately, we cannot do that in the ways that we are used to. For most of you, my words will have to do, and I hope they will help.
From the day that I came to Rocky Mount Christian Church, Harry and Rosalie have been loyal friends to me. I cannot even begin to count the number of lunches I went to with Harry and Rosalie, but I do know that I enjoyed each one of them. They were never short lunches. Inevitably, we would get caught up talking about something, and lunch would go well past what I had planned, which was just fine with me. Harry and Rosalie always had a knack for making me feel special …. like I was part of their family. They were also good at making me laugh, which I often needed.
I have always known that Rosalie was a special lady. Today has confirmed that for me. So many people have written and called me to talk about Rosalie. As it turns out, the kindness that she shared with me was shared with so many people. She was good to everyone she ran into. That is a great measure of one’s life … how many people you have touched along the way, and Rosalie certainly was there for a lot of people.
Rosalie was also a woman of great faith. Even though she has had struggles with her health through the year, she kept coming to church in the parking lot as often as she could. When many people would have turned to anger or cynicism, she chose to trust in God and to love others. I have thought about the polio that Rosalie had many times. I don’t think that I would have handled it nowhere as well as she did. If I remember correctly, Rosalie was from West Virginia. Her upbringing must have made her one tough lady.
I know that one of the greatest challenges of Rosalie’s life was when her son, Todd, passed away. She loved him so much, and she was so faithful to him through all of his illness. It is no wonder that I often thought of Rosalie like a stand-in grandma. I just can’t imagine the pain and suffering she went through in her life. She had a miraculous faith in the face of it all. I strive to be more like that every day.
Today, I mourn for Harry a great deal, too. I feel lousy and am in sorrow. I can’t imagine how Harry is feeling. No clue. I know that he adored Rosalie. Whenever we would go somewhere, Harry would always be driving her around. When we arrived at the restaurant, Harry would immediately get out and help Rosalie out of the car. Harry has always been the consummate gentleman, especially in matters concerning Rosalie.
Rosalie’s family completely cherished her. Her children, grandchildren, and so many others will be hurting a lot during this Advent and Christmas season. Unfortunately, I do not have any magic words to take that hurt away. All I have to offer is faith. In John, Jesus promised his disciples that he would come back for them when their lives were over. In times like this, about all I can do is to cling to those promises. As powerful as they are for me, I extend them to you, too.
I had a bad feeling this day was coming after I heard how sick Rosalie was. I tried to prepare myself for it, but I don’t think that plan worked out very well. So, I keep running everything through my mind. I find myself thinking about her smile, her faith, and her kindness. I have found that all these happy memories help a little bit. It takes some of the edge off the pain. I hope that you find that, too. I know you’ll feel great sadness, but also take time to remember what a very special person Rosalie was. As much as we grieve her passing, we certainly celebrate her life and her resurrection.