Publisher’s Corner

Sorrow In Our Family

Natalie Cooper Hagar

The other night I was sitting on the loveseat watching my 8-year-old grandson Jackson playing a video game while I was feeding a bottle to my 5-week-old grandson Cooper. This would have been such a special moment for me if it were not for the sudden and tragic loss of Cooper’s father just two weeks ago. My son-in-law Matt Hagar was only 31 years old. My daughter Natalie is devastated. There are no words to console her. We can only hug and listen to her tell us how much she loved Matt and how unfair this is to her and Cooper. As her father, I want to make it all right. Rid her of her pain. Fix it all. But I can’t. And it hurts me that I can’t do more. She is left with a newborn to raise without a father. She has lost so much at such an early age. She is only 30 and is having to endure such pain. Matt was a great guy working at Christian Northwest Hospital as a patient transport. In his short time there, the patients and staff grew to love him. One terminal patient specifically wanted to make sure she told him how much he meant to her. But Matt had health issues of his own. He was on his second liver transplant at age 31. He was dealt a tough hand. He had a bad liver from the start and a young adulthood filled with alcohol abuse. He worked so hard at being sober through rehab and halfway houses where he became a mentor for people who were also struggling. In the midst of all this, Matt found Natalie and they fell instantly in love. Matt had told his family that he had been so lonely for so long. Then he found Natalie. He told her once that she saved his life. Soon after, Natalie got pregnant with a baby boy and Matt was elated. He always wanted to be married and have a son. They got married in a civil ceremony in our backyard via zoom with a judge, underneath a large Cedar tree. Matt’s dad and I were there to witness and commemorate the event. Other family members were there via Zoom. Matt was showing signs of illness that day, but he got through the ceremony before going into the hospital that very night. Then it was in and out of the hospital, test after test, conflicting results. But his liver and kidneys were failing from rejection. Doctors said this liver ended up being a bad match. Matt would not get another liver. He was thankfully able to witness his son Cooper’s birth and share some memories before he passed. So, Natalie and Cooper are left to live with us for now. Natalie is hoping to get an apartment soon and go back to work. She has good days and bad days. My wife Niki helps with nighttime feedings and changing diapers. I help when I can. I wish I could make it better for Natalie, like any father would want to do. But all I can do is hug her, feed and hold Cooper when he cries and just be there for them. There are no words that will make it all better right now. Maybe with time. Natalie and Cooper not only lost a father and husband but also a second income, their healthcare and daycare that was provided by the hospital where Matt worked. We have set up a Go Fund Me for Natalie and Cooper and people have already started giving from their hearts. Thank you so much. If you would like to make a contribution, here is the link:
https://gofund.me/92128f8f. Please SHARE on Facebook.

Thank you!