A letter to Coop on his 21st birthday

Dear Coops

On this, your 21st birthday, we wanted you to be in no doubt of the immense joy you brought to our lives, and the gratitude we hold for the priceless gifts you have given us during your brief lifetime.

This time 21 years ago, a perfect baby boy entered our world at 8.22am.  This precious baby was you Coops.  You joined your precious big brother, in making our world, our life, complete.

Your arrival was met with the hopes and dreams of the wonderful life that lie ahead.  It is impossible to articulate the pure joy and happiness of that moment.

21 years on, today is a day of extreme sadness, conflicting emotions and stark realisation.  The realisation we are celebrating a milestone birthday without you by our sides.  From the day you and Mitch were born, these special milestones have been so anticipated, so celebrated and so revered.  Your 21st birthday was to be no different.

Today is hollow.  Today is not like any other.  Today is filled with the sadness of the unfinished chapter, when the book is now closed, never to be reopened.  Today is a stark reminder of a wonderful life ending before it began, and what has been senselessly snatched from our family.

The grief of losing you will last forever because our love will last forever.  Losing you was not one finite event, rather, a loss that continues to unfold over the course of a lifetime. Every missed birthday, holiday, milestone, your university graduation, your first job, finding your first love, maybe finding the partner of your dreams, and then there is the notion of the grandchild that might have been.

Then there is your larger than life physical presence that leaves a gaping void.  The empty chair at the table, your empty bedroom, or the empty space in our family pictures that used to once be complete. There is and will always be an empty space in our lives that you once filled.  Time does not make the space less empty. Nothing does nor ever will.

Losing you was the saddest moment ever. The love that exists between a parent and a child is the most powerful of forces, and the love between a bereaved parent and his/her child is a most powerful force of nature.  The love of a brother that misses you every minute of every day, simply cannot be articulated.

We all have the gift of you Coop and the joy you brought to our lives.  You and your big brother remain the best gift in life we will ever hope to receive.

Though you are no longer with us this world, you always remain in our hearts.

Wherever you are today, happy 21st birthday our darling boy.  We miss you more than life itself…