Sunday, August 5, 2007

no fancy title here

I told Conor this evening that grief feels like something living inside of you, or at least for me, it does, and that I have to get it out, I have to release it, even every hour or so, or else it starts to eat away at my joy and my peace and everything else that feels sane. So I walk around my house talking out loud a lot. I'm not praying, per se, just sort of chatting with myself - although I guess God, too, knowing He can hear it all, anyway - about what I'm feeling. I find it to be therapeutic to expunge my emotions verbally. This won't suprise those of you who knew me back in the days when I was prone to pick up a bar of Dove soap and stand in front of a mirror, doing a commercial for them. I've tried to do this several times in the years since and it doesn't come naturally anymore, most likely because I'm not really secure enough in myself to act like a total idiot knowingly, even with no one watching. Anyway, maybe idiocy feels more like comedy with a crowd. That makes sense, I guess. But that strain of my personality definitely resurfaces in this whole "talking to myself" business. I find that I'm actually pretty good at psychoanalyzing my emotions if I talk about them and I actually enjoy that feeling of introspection, seeing a part of who I am that perhaps I never had the time or energy or desire to really examine.

All that to say sometimes talking to myself can still get a little stale. And thus, I turn to the blog. So if you feel like I have become particularly verbose of late, just know it's not because I think most of you are just longing to know my every thought. It's simply that somehow, that creature, grief, has to be set free. And writing what I'm feeling down is just about as good as talking what I'm feeling out.

I am scared. Scared beyond any sense of scared I've ever felt. Friday, the day before my 28th birthday, was the worst day I've had so far. We got the word from my OB - Copeland is going to be delivered September 18th. We're "on the books," as they might say. I had 48 hours to process what it might feel like to actually have to pencil that in on my planner, that for most people c-sections are scheduled with a sense of excitement and joy, and that for me, it's like mindlessly agreeing that yes, we're ready to let our daughter die. It's strange. Will it all get worse - or better? I find that the anxiety I live with now can sometimes seem so unbearable that I actually have to remind myself to breathe. Which is strange. And a bit cliche, I realize. But I suppose like all the intense emotions we feel in life, grief has its stereotypes that turn out to be marked realities when once you're going through them. Having to remember to breathe has been one for me. Or maybe not remembering to breathe. Just finding an odd sense of comfort in breathing, like everything else in the world is crashing down but you can still suck oxygen back and that feels normal. The grief I felt Friday, the sadness, scared me. I had never felt that sad before. And it was physical. Exhausting and destructive and somewhat overpowering. It went away as quickly as it came, but the strength of it was such that I certainly don't look forward to it creeping up again. I feel like I should put up Post-It notes around the house with "Don't worry, it'll be gone soon" scribbled all over them. Just so I know that I'll get back to a good place again, at some point.

I have found that the crying is a lot like vomiting. It's one of those symptoms of pain and sadness that you know is bound to come, much like throwing up is one of the inevitable symptoms of being nauseated. And you also know that somehow, weirdly, once you've done it, you'll feel better. But it's miserable. I wake up each morning wondering if I'm going to feel emotionally "nauseous" - whether that impending sensation of crying will hang in my stomach and remain there until I've acquiesced and allowed myself to weep uncontrollably. The crying itself is sickening and overwhelming and at the same time completely cleansing. You're drained and there's nothing else to give so, for the time being, that 'nausea' you felt subsides. The grief creature is appeased.

Reading C.S. Lewis has brought about a new-found sense of inadequacy in much of the faith I've held for years, much of the evangelical Christianity that I've been cultured to accept as "real" or "solid" or "truthful." I don't feel that I can compartmentalize God anymore, or that I can handle this situation with neat little phrases that so often we toss about in times of struggle. I am not angry, necessarily, about this, just sort of disconcerted. Lewis wasn't American. Why does my Christianity have a red state/blue state feel to it? At the same time, the disconcerted feeling is also incredibly exhilirating, like jumping into a freezing lake or something - there's a rush of awakening that happens in your soul, a sense of relief, like there's more to the whole story than you originally thought. God isn't what you might have pinned Him to be in the beginning of your journey, no; He's more and better and not at all the somewhat ineffective deity I often make Him out to be. I don't think He's angry, necessarily, with our tendency to box Him in like that. I suspect it's just a bit annoying.

There's no real point to all of this other than the fact that I don't have to wander about the house tomorrow exchanging diatribes with myself about any of it. So that's good. Thank you for being willing to read. Someone told me recently that my blogs were kind of long and I just had to grin -- welcome to the world of all the people who've ever been asked, unwillingly, to edit my papers or articles or whatnot: I'm long-winded. I don't know how to say anything quickly or with just a few sentences. So enjoy what you can and pitch the rest. Just know I'm working on keeping myself afloat.

15 comments:

Paula said...

Boothe,

I am honored to help you stay afloat!

Your blogs are like buoys to the rest of us. Keep on!

Praying that each day will find you gazing at the clouds and seeing God's image in every one. Copeland will be ushered into your presence and immediately know the joy of a loving family.

In Him, our Great Physician

Paula

Carlee Russell said...

Boothe and Family,

I don't know you, I found your blog while reading friends of friend's blogs, at one in the morning. Your raw emotion and honest wrestling match with God are refreshing to me. Isn't this what faith is about? Isn't this what Jesus did in the garden before His death? Oh God, I want my will to be done, my will! Your's hurts, your's seems too hard right now, Your's is not my plan. And yet, God Almighty, I submit, not my will but your's be done. That is genuine faith to me, in the ugliness of life on earth the beauty of the hope we have in Christ, for a better eternity in heaven, breaks through and somehow we make it another day.

I don't know the pain of losing a child. I know the joy of having them, the fear that accompanies parenting, especially when things are not right, but not the grief of your deepest fears being realized. And so I can only offer you my prayers, for strength not your own, for peace in the midst of the darkest storm, for deeper relationships with God and with each other, so that your famliy comes through this tighter and stronger because your bond and your hope is in the Lord, not circumstances. May Copeland be a beacon of light to a dying world, that this life is not the end, that there is more, so much more.

With sincere love and prayers, Carlee Russell

Darby Stickler said...

Thank you, Boothe. Thank you for your transparency and honesty. I wept for you yesterday. I sat at my computer screen and sobbed as I read through your blog and some blogs you have listed on yours. I thought of my own girls. I thought of what you are going through and facing. I can not fathom your grief, but grief struck me and it was painful and real. And to think that I am just an innocent bystander, who by the grace of God, doesn't know what it feels like to be you, makes me feel nauseated for you. I wish I was there to offer a hug or to sob with you. Know that I am grieving with you at my computer screen and as I hold my babies. I'm so thankful for your faith and that it is being strengthened and tested. There is power in the blood. You & Copeland (and ultimately our Savior) have impacted me deeply. Rub that belly and tell that baby girl although I don't know her I love her. God is being glorified!

Laurie said...

Dear Boothe,
I read your entry this morning and I too find myself to be a person of many words to express a one line thought. You keep on writing as many words as you need to, knowing that anxiety is terrifying and needs to be
disarmed daily. And no, I do not think God is annoyed one bit. He always listens to us. I truly believe that He is pleased to help us break the chains of "structured religion" so many of us were brought up with. In these uncertain times, He takes us aside and shows us He is so much more and is so personally concerned with you, your feelings,fears,and even anger. There are times for marathons with lots of people running toward the same goal, and there are the one on one power walks you go on with Him, just the two of you. I have had many of these power walks with Him, and He has been faithful to drag me through when I couldn't take another step. These are the times He shows me personally His Stuff, not what was told to me by others, but shown to me by Him, for me only. God is a personal Father and
every word we speak or think is important to Him. And best of all, He knows our hearts better than we could ever imagine. He understands how scared you are and how paralyzing this time of your life is right now. He knows it all and is right there to help you remember to breath. He is breathing life into Copeland with each breath you take. I wish with all my heart I could assure you that this will all turn out alright, but I can't. I can assure you that I will pray for each days strength for you to make it through, pray the Lord to ease the fear of the unknown for you, and reveal Himself to you in the little things throughout the day, leaving you with no doubt that He is right beside you in this journey you and your family are walking through right now. You just keep talking and writing daily as you feel the need. I am honored to listen or read, and it shows me where I need to pray for you. There is no "Right Way" to stay afloat in this stormy sea you are in, just your way and Gods help. He
controls the sea and I pray he calms it for you in the days ahead
as you approach September 18th. Children are always a Gift from God. I do not say this lightly as a cliche, it is true. Copeland is precious in her Makers sight. I will pray for peace and joy to touch your days ahead through the anxiety and fear and all other emotions you experience in this storm. These are the times that being human can be unbearable. Keep telling God how you feel in the raw and unedited version. He can take it. He loves you Boothe, even when you can't wrap your heart around it. Just know He does. And keep on writing, it soothes the soul and makes a little room for peace.

~*~Much Love and Prayers for you today from Ca.~*~

Love, Laurel

Anonymous said...

Boothe-
Cherry sent this blog to me, I guess not realizing that I cry at stop signs (as Chaz loves to say about me) :)
I am sitting her overflowing with grief, for you and your precious family, but also for all mothers who must face illness and uncertainty in their children's future. I have two precious daugthers who have health issues, nothing as critical as yours, but fear is fear. I know the feeling of fear and how it sucks the life out of us, and makes us question God's plans. Your words speak to this so eloquently!

One of my dearest friends lost her grandbaby to Trisomy 18 - it was heart wrenching, but I must tell you that baby Mia impacted many lives in her short 26 days here on earth. She led people to the Lord, as we all watched her parents and friends pull closer to the God who was soon going to take that adorable baby home. As we all went over to hold and cuddle her each day, even as she struggled for each breath, we knew she was a gift from God and that she had changed us forever. I pray that you get many days with Copeland, so that she too can impact people- and those days, though bittersweet, you will treasure.
We will continue to pay for your precious family.
In Him,
Traci Bishir

Anonymous said...

please offer no apologies for your expressions. they are beautiful and your honesty is refreshing! i've never met you,but oh how i am drawn to the rawness of your emotions. i cannot tell you how amazing it is to hear your discoveries into the treasures of who our Lord is. i've experienced personal tragedy when my idea of who God had always been became just that, my idea. i absolutely hate the depth of your sorrow and the cause of your pain, but know that your honesty is glorifying to the Lord and i for one experience a longing to know Him as He truly is when i read your blog. here are some verses that i have clung to in the past when i just needed to make it literally hour by hour.
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

you and your precious little one are in my prayers.

amy

Chels said...

From the "short-winded" one in the family:

Sis you have always talked to yourself and talked out loud and talked and talked and talked. ha. And although it was always much easier for me to say one word or a few and that was that - I've always learned so much from your "talks". (whether directed to me or a mirror!) Life doesn't make sense. I can start crying at my desk just thinking about how much heartache and grief people have felt b/c they've lost someone in their lives...yet I admit my fear still predominately resides in me being the one that leave and has to say goodbye. Its moments like now, when I stop to read your blog and I am wrecked by the honestly in your words. It's evident that you are seeking Him everyday, and b/c fear can so often get the best of me, it is evident I am not.

I can remember times at BA, remembering something terrible that had happened to someone and envying them simply b/c of the desperation they had for the Lord. And now, after growing up a little and having minor heartache of my own, I can admit to the stupidity of those thought. I can see my nauseating desperation for the Lord that is unmet b/c I choose to keep it that way.

But I'm praying for your burden - I pray that He will give me such empathy that i can physically help you carry this. I'm telling everyone about your situation and i believe He is smiling at how much Copeland is stretching and convicting me - and ultimately so many others.

He will give you the strength, like He has given everyone else whose loved and lost, to make it each day. And that's all you need. Take it one day at a time. There is no perspective that will make this easier, but your desperation for Him to give you strength will make today worth it. It is by His grace that we have been saved and that it is Well with our Souls. Not by us doing something or being able to make sense out of ANY of it...but by grace.

Hear the Holy Spirit speak through Sel. He is. She's strong b/c she see you and connie struggle and love her still. She is learning and He is pursuing her through this. And one day, our entire family will celebrate with Copeland.

I love you with all of my heart!

Chels

lindsey said...

where to even begin...i feel you often have the words that i lack. i have grieved so much for you and conor and sellers. daily, i ache for you guys and pray for you. i am praying for a miracle. treasure these moments that you have with copeland, and please know that, even in a small still way, david and eli and i are wanting to carry a fraction of your burden. i know that depth of grief, the hopelessness, and all i can say is i know. i'm sure you do not have the energy, but if you ever want to talk or email...lindseyozier@gmail.com. i often feel i lack the energy to discuss things...it's like it runs too deep to bring it up to the surface...anyway, we are praying for you guys constantly. thank you for sharing your lives with us.

lindsey (stroud) ozier

Anonymous said...

Boothe,
Lindsay Jennings is a dear friend of mine and I am sure we have passed a million times at Fellowship, but we have never met. My name is Holly Koogler. And I am saddened and strengthened by what you write. I look forward to your dear words every night.
Please know that I have spent many nights on my knees weeping for you. Begging our Lord to let Copeland be that miracle we all want her to be! And as I write those words, I don;t know what I truly mean. Copeland is already a miracle. Every day she lives, every heartbeat she makes, she is a miracle! I know that God has his intricate plan woven already. That he, and only he, knows the number of breaths she will take and days she will live. And I am trying to hold onto that.
I want you to know you have brought such hope to me. You have reminded me that life with Christ is not always easy. I do not know why God is doing this, but I do know that it is by no accident that he chose you! Sounds silly and incredible and maybe even harsh, but he knew you were the one that could speak so eloquently. And through your incredible gift of words, bless so many through your despair and hope and pain. That you could use the talent that God has given you to change peoples lives.
I go to this blog to hear Christ through you. Your relationship with Christ is truly awe inspiring! Your faith in Him in the midst of the storm is amazing. I see the heartache that you are experiencing while not wanting to take your eyes off of him and am blessed. The spirit of the Lord is dripping from every crevace of your body. This is my selfish prayer that I am sure I share with you.....
Lord,
PLEASE let Copeland live. Let this be the miracle that you are after, Lord. Let the birth of Copeland as a normal little girl bring the doctors to their knees and help them see God and only God through this. And, Lord, if this is not your will, we accept that. But let her life, though short, change lives. For the story of her parents to spread so that people will come to ask, where do they get their strength. Let your light radiate off of Boothe and Conor so that the world may see your love through them!!
Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts with you. And please know that I am on my knees for you!
Holly Koogler

Anonymous said...

boothe-
i am honored to know you and i am praying for you and your precious family. Copeland is amazing - I (like so many others) hear the LORD so strongly through her and you. Keep writing your long long bliogs they are amazing and are full of the gospel thank you.
love
brooke tanner mabry

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you.......

Mandy

Melissa said...

i have no words. except, please know how much i love you and am thankful for the opportunity to cry out to the lord on behalf of your family.

JUST A MOM said...

Boothe don't ever shorten your posts... that would shorten your feeligns and put that in a box. I so keep you in my thoughts always. I ask God who is it that you can be holdign up like you kinda are. He tells me to look deeper to where He is..... So my dear you are opening my box of God,,,,, Breathe,, and look in that mirror and give yourself a HUG.

jaymie said...

Boothe,
I am a friend of Chelsea (and the other cousins) and have been praying for you since Copeland was just a prayer waiting to be answered. You've been even closer to my heart the last few months. 4 months ago I lost my sweet baby girl after only 2 days. There is nothing more unnatural and wrong than loosing a baby. I say all of this to say that in a lot of ways I walk beside you. No person is exactly the same, but there is a bond between people in pain. The hurt I feel for my Jayde is still physical. A feeling that you described so well. I never knew until now that sadness could physically hurt too. It does and I am sorry that you are feeling it. I will continue to pray for your family. Carry that sweet baby girl with pride, for she is already doing the Lord's work. And I personally am not finished praying for healing. You and I and all of those others out there who have to go through this kind of thing learn unique lessons about GOD. Though they are expensive lessons, I am thankful that they teach us that He has not forsaken us. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Boothe,

You and Conner and Sellers and Copeland are loved and prayed for continually. I don't have eloquent words of wisdom, advise, and encouragement, but I offer love and lots of prayers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.