On Marcus’ last birthday my Grandpa Cooper led the prayer before dinner.

Grandpa had many valuable skills, one was that he could say a good prayer. When he prayed with the family, you always kind of felt like you were in the express line, a better, quicker Grandpa and usconnection. He began as he always did, with thanks. He thanked God for giving Marcus unexpected good health and most of all, for all that Marcus brings to our lives and what he teaches us.

Grandpa Cooper was a hard-working, traditional, old-South man born in Bessemer, Alabama and he died last Sunday. Marcus was Grandpa’s “little buddy,” and always will be.

Marcus told me he would sit by Grandma Cooper and help her. Then, at every chance, he did. While the family made arrangements, Marcus chose the chair closest to her. And at the funeral, he scooted to the row ahead of Quinn and I, and sat right next to Grandma in the front row. Marcus doesn’t care about protocol, he cares about helping Grandma. He held and patted her hand during the service.

He also gave us all a little comic relief by inserting an “Aflac” duck call in at just the right moment.

I know my posts lately have been nothing if not whiny, I’m a bit “used up;” and this week the world is writing about compassion. #1000Speaks of compassion. All week I’ve been witnessing compassion yet wondering what to say. My friends and my husband have come forward to help me. (And also feeding me, “See grief-send food.” Midwestern motto.) I am grateful for everyone’s support and love.

And my Marcus, he has helped me most of all. He holds my hand, he keeps me centered, he tells me his stories, he articulates feelings for me in the most direct way and helps me to put my arms around them. I’ve been wanting to write about how much he has helped me, but right now it’s too close and too strong. So, you’ll just have to trust me. Oh, and come back later. When I’m less whiny.