Posted November 3, 2008 5:05 p.m. EST
Updated November 4, 2008 5:14 a.m. EST
The beautiful weather we enjoyed this past weekend always reminds me of why I love North Carolina. A warm fall day bathed in sunlight along with the orange and yellow hues of the changing leaves is always something to be thankful for. Somehow the longer I live here the easier it is to forget just how lucky we are.
One Cary neighborhood had a particular glow this past weekend-Lochmere. After the murder of Nancy Cooper in July it seemed like a permanent black cloud hung over what had been a tranquil suburban community defined by joggers, bikers, dogs and baby strollers. In the months since that time it seemed as if fewer people were taking advantage of the peaceful nature trails and walkways. It was a combination of fear and sadness that kept them from enjoying the natural amenities of their neighborhood.
But since the arrest of Brad Cooper Monday in connection with his wife's murder, there have been palpable signs of relief here. Not only were the paths packed Saturday and Sunday with people taking advantage of the fantastic weather, but crowds of costumed children headed out to trick-or-treat Friday night . Halloween seemed much more festive under a renewed sense of safety that neighbors in Lochmere say they are now experiencing in light of the arrest.
To be clear--there is still tremendous grief for the loss of Nancy Cooper. Her friends say the arrest has finally allowed them to properly grieve instead of focusing only on the murder case. They say having some resolution after months of frustration and waiting for there to be a development equals a sense of relief they can barely put into words. But now for them, and for all of the people who live in Lochmere, there is some hope normalcy will eventually return to this formerly serene place.
This past weekend as I watched people jog along Lochmere Drive and stroll around the lake feeding the ducks, for the first time in months I didn't think about the murder. I thought about how this was a day Nancy Cooper would have loved to have been outside, and maybe, just maybe, the best way to honor her memory is to remember what she found so beautiful about this place.