Having one’s father taken away from him is no less than losing his safety net. Award-winning actor Bradley Cooper saw his greatest supporter wither away in front of his eyes and he did everything he could to devote every minute of his life for his father’s care. But an emotion as strong as this does not perish but keeps recurring throughout one’s life.
Cooper saw his father breathe his last right in front of him and that is a memory that never stops replaying in his mind. “My family is very close, and my dad dying was brutal for all of us. It was a schism, and its aftershock has not stopped,” he told Details magazine a couple of years after his father’s death, as reported by Los Angeles Times.
The Grammy Award winner considers himself lucky for being able to constantly be there with his father, Charles when he was battling for life against lung cancer. “I was in a very lucky position because I was able to put everything on hold in all aspects of my life and completely focus on taking care of him,” the actor said at the launch of the Parker Foundation’s Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, according to Today.
Seeing his father draw his last breath wrapped up in his arms, opened his eyes to the realities the life. It was a spiritually awakening moment for him which he continues to cherish and calls one of the biggest gifts that his father has given him. Charles passed away two weeks after Cooper’s film The Hangover II came to a wrap. He talks about the last moments of his father, who he called his “best friend”, with sheer fondness and gratitude.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to USA Today, he said, “It was everything. It was the biggest gift he gave me – the second biggest gift. [The first was] having me and bringing me into this life and [then] him allowing me to be witness to his passing was equally as huge. It really honestly felt like – he was cradled, his head was right here – and when he took the last breath I honestly felt like it went into me, and I’ve never seen anything the same since.”
Bradley Cooper’s father has left behind a number of things for him to live by, including his faith. “I loved the way he prayed, so I would pray like he would,” he said in an interview, published by thefashionisto.com. “Not for any other reason than I wanted to be like my father–I wanted to be like Charlie Cooper. But in so doing, through the ritual of it, I started to have faith in God.”
While he was bereaved by the passing of his father who taught him how to see the world, he was also grateful for the last learning his father gave him through his last days of life – a new perspective on life. “It’s a new reality,” he said. “Everything, everything. It’s not even one thing, it’s a whole new world. And it was instantaneous. It wasn’t like, months later. It was like, his last exhale, and I was holding him, and it was like, everything changed.”
He no longer worried about things that don’t matter and said, “I stopped sweating stuff that I was sweating before that. It changed the way I was as an actor by, like, the next day, and I just started to live my life in a different way.”
Not only did his world change and he gain a new perspective in life, but he also became stronger and learned to face the realities of life. “I remember that moment and I looked up and I thought everything was different,” he said. “[I became] stronger, more open, more willing to fail because of him… The reality of mortality hits you like a ton of bricks.”
But there are some people you just can’t lose. Their spiritual fabrics remain ingrained in your very being and a relationship with them has its roots dug way deeper than the physical world. “My dad works his way into my life every day. Luckily, thank God, I still dream about him. He comes into my dreams,” he told NPR. He also added, “I cherish them. I love when he’s in my dreams. In the beginning, he was very sick in my dreams, and now in my dreams he’s healthy.”
The A Star Is Born actor also finds his own daughter giving him constant reminders of his father and said, “Our daughter, she’s incredible. I see my father in her quite often. I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I had moments when … I was just in the room with her I would just say ‘Dad?'”
In his own way, Cooper has found the love of his father again. And every time that he will miss him now, he will be reminded that he is a stronger and a much more woke human being, all thanks to his father who never failed to inspire him.