Loss

Healing Love

Chad Cooke (left) and my brother Matt Sweeney (right). Best of friends for 16 years.
Chad Cooke (left) and my brother Matt Sweeney (right). Best of friends for 16 years.

My family experienced a tragic loss at Christmas. On December 23, 2014, my brother’s best friend, Chad Cooke, passed away very suddenly. He was just 20 years old. Chad played a great role in my family’s life. We considered him family. His untimely death has had me searching more internally.

My God, why?

As a mother, my heart goes out to Chad’s parents. The loss of a child is like no other. No matter what stage or age, born or unborn, this type of loss is devastatingly tragic. Because each person’s grief is unique, no one can exactly understand what another is feeling or experiencing during his or her grief.

God tugs on our hearts. We feel such pain and anguish in many ways. Why would our loving God allow us all to feel this way?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not parish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Our Heavenly Father offered His Only Begotten Son to save us all, because He loves us that much.

So, what does this mean for us?

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)Chad was so special. He allowed the light of Christ to overcome him. We who knew him call it the “Chad effect” and it is present in all of us if we so choose to truly say yes to Jesus. This young man had accomplished so much in his short life all due to his love for God. I do believe every single person he had ever encountered could divulge stories both humorous and loving, because Chad was just that type of human being.

“…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

We all have people in our lives that have this light. We all know at least one person that never seems to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). They are slow to anger (Matthew 5:21-26), and they truly are the salt and light of the earth and are able to create a joy in everyone they meet. In all honesty, we all have the capability to be part of the “Chad Effect” if we only surrender completely to God.

God calls on us to remember we are all His children, and that each of us is His precious gift. To parents, He entrusts these precious beings to us, so that we may raise them up righteously, just as Chad’s parents had in his 20 years on this earth. God is good, even when we have sorrows and suffering.

As a parent, it may seem difficult to grasp that our children are not our own, but rather a temporary gift that our Heavenly Father has entrusted to us. “Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?”, and furthermore, “Now discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:7 & 11)

Everyone has experience with loss. We need to bear in mind God’s enduring and unconditional love for us during sorrow.

Imagine our Blessed Mother Mary. Step into her sandals at the Foot of her Son’s Cross. Envision the reality of Jesus on that Cross. His beautiful, fragile, human body. Now, feel her pain. Feel her unending sadness; the swords in her heart, once before prophesied, now her reality. With all her being, she continued to obey God even though her Son had been killed. We are meant to be at the Foot of the Cross right alongside with Mary. Embrace God’s plan, even if it may hurt, because we are all broken and in need of mending.

Psalm 147:3 tells us, “He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.”

Chad Cooke will be very much missed here in his hometown of Illinois as well as in South Carolina, where he had started to make a big difference in little lives. He aided his girlfriend, Emily, in her non profit organization, Charleston Hope. Chad loved children. I can attest as mine would light up upon seeing him enter the room! He had that effect on people…again, the light of Christ.

Find the light of Christ in you. Cause a ripple effect in the waters of life. Create your own “Chad effect”, that is, the “Christ-in-you effect” to everyone you encounter.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

In loving memory of Chadwick Oliver Cooke April 23, 1994 – December 23, 2014

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