Meet Thelma Cooper

Meet Thelma Cooper


Many years ago, Thelma found herself in need of exploring thoughts and feelings that were filling her soul. This led to daily journaling. Along with the regular demands of family life, her professional life was very demanding as she taught and performed as part of the piano faculty of Baylor University.

In 1984, during her mid-forties, Thelma was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Surgery and radiation followed, lymph nodes were clear, and cancer cells were gone. Or so they thought. Family, faith, and friends provided invaluable support during this time. Her love for swimming and writing also gave much comfort and therapy.

In 2009, those deadly breast cancer cells appeared again, this time in her right lung. The next summer, as they had for decades, her family undertook the trek from their home in Texas to their home in Chautauqua, New York. In addition to going to concerts and lectures, Thelma always took an opportunity to explore different avenues for self-expression. It was with great delight that she discovered that a course called “Writing to Heal” (led by Maureen Ryan Griffin) was going to be taught. With fear and trepidation, she signed up for the class.

A Sample of Thelma’s Writing

Not Yet


Thelma Cooper

Not yet…

I am not yet ready to leave this world of beauty!

Is the spirit world as beautiful?

Does the red bird sing?

And the mocking bird?

Has she perfected her song so that she no longer practices

the trills, the long phrases, the sweeping melodies

as she sings happily looking up at the clouds?

And, are there white soft clouds playing tag with each other

as they roll by in the gentle breeze?

What about colors?

Will there be the green of the early spring grass,

The yellow/green of the tall stalks of corn,

The feathery leaves of trees…

And flowers?

begonias, daisies, impatiens, red Shasta daisies

that are as alive as blood from a wound

(Is it bleeding for me who am now mourning my own departure from

this amazing world?)

Will I travel in space – jumping from one Universe to another even more amazing?

I will take them with me…. my LOVED ONES… family and friends

One never forgets but each will make this journey with me into the

Unknown Mystery

A journey without fear

Not yet…

Surely there are many more days of

Sunshine, laughter, hugs, smiles, music, love, conversation,


 What Thelma says about WordPlay

“After meeting Maureen Ryan Griffin and going to the first session of “Writing to Heal”  I was hooked. There was a joyous, positive, and supportive spirit in the way Maureen encouraged each of us to explore our thoughts through writing. I was stunned to find words to share experiences of long ago that had been hidden away somewhere in my brain. I fell in love with writing all over again.

Thanks to Maureen and her encouragement, I plan to continue a long-term project of writing about my parents and their work as educators in the beautiful city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, where I grew up. And again, family, faith, friends, swimming and writing are with me supporting me in this journey of healing.”