COVID memorials: 4-year-old son still waiting for dad to come home and finish game

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The loss is still new and raw for Tierra Cooper, who lost her beloved husband, Eberechukwu Cooper, in December after a months-long fight with COVID.

She still talks to him. When Facebook comes up with a memory of one of his posts from previous years — like taking the kids to see “Black Panther” — she responds to his Facebook page with the things she wishes she could say in person.

“I told him, ‘You left me with not knowing how to teach our sons how to be a man,’” she said.

She tells him their 4-year-old son is still waiting for him to finish a game they started before his dad got sick.

Today and throughout the week, the Dayton Daily News remembers people from the region we lost and gives voice to those who loved them.

Explorehttps://www.daytondailynews.com/local/remembering-lives-lost-to-covid-19/ZDN7SZQWDVD2DC4SSNWKLDEABM/

Eberechukwu’s love for their children is one of Tierra’s fondest memories. She had seven kids before they met and they had one child together. He loved them all.

“He treated them like they were his children, even though he wasn’t old enough to even father most of them,” she said. “He just immediately said, ‘I’m the father and I’m going to do what I have to do to make sure they’re OK.’”

Tierra Copper, center, lost her husband Eberechukwu to COVID-19 in December. A service was held at Arthur O. Fisher Park for his life. Eberechukwu's children are Evere Cooper, left and King Cooper.
Tierra Copper, center, lost her husband Eberechukwu to COVID-19 in December. A service was held at Arthur O. Fisher Park for his life. Eberechukwu's children are Evere Cooper, left and King Cooper.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

This included working multiple jobs so she could stay home with the kids.

Eberechukwu, 40, was creative as well as hard-working.

He had a degree in engineering, and also excelled at martial arts, wrote science fiction novels, directed sci-fi films, acted and composed music.

Proud of his African-American heritage, he created a new language called Koba-Ari with more than 4,000 words “to embody the meaning of being Black and proud,” his obituary says.

“He took great pride in encouraging and inspiring others to be, ‘The best you, you can be!’ He touched every person’s path he crossed,” his obituary says.

Eberechukwu Cooper died of COVID-19 in December.
Eberechukwu Cooper died of COVID-19 in December.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Eberechukwu tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of October and was admitted to the hospital because his oxygen levels dropped. He was put on a ventilator a couple of weeks later. His condition worsened and he was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Tierra couldn’t be in the room with her husband at the hospital. When she visited him, she saw him through glass panes and spoke to him through a baby monitor. She couldn’t sleep and had nightmares. She found a therapist, which helped some.

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She told the therapist about what visiting the hospital was like.

“Every day I visit him somebody is dying,” she said. “I’m walking through a sea of grieving people who can’t go in and see their family members.”

Finally she was allowed back into the room after the contagious period had passed, but his lungs were too damaged. She was at his side when he died on Dec. 18.

“He held on long enough for me and the children to get there,” she said. “Then he was staring at me and passed away.”

King Cooper holds up a picture of his father, Eberechukwu Cooper who died from COVID-19 in December.
King Cooper holds up a picture of his father, Eberechukwu Cooper who died from COVID-19 in December.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER