Thursday, August 2, 2007

a reversal

It is almost incomprehensible to me that I wrote those words a little over 24 hours ago. That news - the news of a possible due date, a day which we can prepare for our little girl's arrival - was like a small pebble removed from the center of a great, unsturdy heap. Slowly, but surely, it has all come tumbling down.

I find that the grief of knowing we will have her, only to let her go, is new and incredibly sharp. Conor bought me "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis a few weeks ago, a book I confess I've always somehow dreaded even picking up off the shelf in any given bookstore simply because its title was so incredibly awful. There is no part of me that ever, ever wanted to go through anything that could be remotely dubbed grief. There is no part of me that wants to be going through it now. I know about God's glory, God's purpose, and I believe in them. But I confess that I often find so little hope in those notions. They are certain, as certain to me as the nose on my face, but their certainty does not always elicit anything like comfort.

Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson, wrote about his mother's relationship with "Jack", whom she married whilst in the throes of a fatal illness - one that took her life a few short years later. One thing he says that struck me particularly was that, in her time in Oxford, near her friends, near Lewis himself, when they lived in a quaint little house frequented by friends and constantly bubbling over with warmth, it all "seemed to be the beginning of so much that could have been wonderful." How I relate to those words. I suspect that grief, in its dullest form, is basically the very upheaval of anything we believe could have been wonderful, the removal of something that we believe would be beautiful, or needed, or loved, or hoped for. There is nothing astounding in his words; he simply meant to say what was true, even several decades later. Believing in God's timing, or His providence, or His purpose, does not change the fact that there are going to be great chunks missing in the vision we have for our lives, even a vision that cannot be swept away as ungodly or irrational or selfish. And when they are gone, the agony, we can be sure, will be deep.

To say that I am not up to the task of letting my daughter die is laughable. Who is? I believed that Copeland was the answer to two years of prayer, to the tender supplications of my three year-old at the dinner table ("God, please can we have a baby sister?"). I now feel a grief for her - who she will never be, at least before my eyes - that is exquisite. To know what might have been, even in knowing that every moment ordained for her was planned long ago, is the crushing part of it all.

I have no way of ending this on a lighthearted note. I have no way of making this seem like something it's not. Please know that my words on this blog are real, and what I feel is real - even when it's joyful or hopeful or peaceful. But the moments of despair and heartache are so frequent it would be wrong - deceptive - of me to keep them from surfacing here. And perhaps I find comfort in knowing that there is a human bond in the struggle to find something good in the midst of something so incredibly bad. Pray for our faith. I know that, as Gresham writes, "the stronger the faith the more savagely will Satan storm its fortress."


Laurie said...

Dear Boothe, I want you to know I am praying for you here in CA. today and that our God will give you the faith and peace to get through each day. I am so sorry for the sorrow that is touching your life right now. I truly admire your honesty as you write your heart here. This is one area in life that really tests my faith; how some can think of a baby's life as a mistake and discard it, while others who desperately do everything possible to bring life must suffer. I know it is all in God's hands but I really have a hard time with it. With this said, I will hold you up tenderly to our God, the creator of Little Copeland, and continue to ask Him to please be gentle with her and if it is His will, please give you the miracle you so deserve. And I pray for your faith to be strengthened by Him who knows the cry of your heart. Draw close to Conor and Sellers this weekend as God continues to watch over every breath little Copeland takes in her journey. You have my heart and continued prayers here in CA.
~*~Peace,Joy,Love and Faith~*~ to you this weekend and the days ahead. "The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you." Love, Laurel

JUST A MOM said...


Anonymous said...

we do not know each other, but please know that i am sending up many prayers for you and your family.

~a sister in Christ in Florida

simonsays said...

Boothe, have you seen Shadowlands?? It's one of my favorite movies and it's about C.S. Lewis' life at the time he was falling in love with, marrying and losing his wife. It is very powerful - hard at times - but it might be comforting through this stretch. It stars Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger - has a couple of my favorite movie lines but I won't tell you what they are in case you haven't seen it!

I will continue to pray - thank you for your honesty - it certainly helps us know how to pray for you, Conor and Sellers.

Love, Julie

P.S. Isn't your birthday soon?? Is it today?? Happy Birthday either way!

Melissa said...

thank you for your honesty and for allowing others to walk with you and share in your joy as well as in your sorrow. your realness continues to be inspiring and a blessing to me. it also shows me how specifically to pray for you...which i continue to do! love to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Boothe and Conor,
your grief is so very vivid, I can almost feel it as you describe. It seems like a vacuum, like trying to breathe and function in the midst of dealing with the gravity of what we pray will not come. I am praying for our mighty God to shower you with tenderness, clear vision and wisdom. I pray that He gives long life and joy to you all and Copeland.. that he offers this miracle for all of us to rejoice in with you. I pray that you are able to FEEL His hands moving your hands and feet when you can't do it yourself. When this doesn't make sense in your heart (but believe it in your head)- I pray His presence is enough, and helps you hang on to Him. We're lifting you, Conor, Sellers and Copeland up!
love, Tiffany

Melissa said...

oh, and happy birthday to you today...praying you find joy in this day!

Katie and Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie and Dan said...

Bless you, Boothe. You are such a strong and powerful woman - your writing affects so many people as is evident in the comments section after every post. I hope you have a blessed and happy birthday. Please know Dan and I are praying for you guys always out here in the Pacific (Hawaii).

Satan wants nothing more than to tear down our walls of faith and to see us suffer. I love your determination to choose joy on days that joy seems unreachable, to thumb your nose at Satan as you hold tightly to Christ, and I love your determination to let God move in ways you never imagined in your faith, your marriage, and even with Sellers in this hard time in her life. I am proud of you for being such an amazing woman of faith in this, your 28th year. You seem to have reached a spiritual maturity that women in their final years of life continue to struggle to achieve.

Love, Katie, Dan and Baby Beall

August 4, 2007 11:04 PM

Nate & Terah said...


Words fail at times like these. My prayer is that God will gather your precious family up and hold you close as you grieve.

Terah (Sheets) Ott

Lacey Houghland said...

My heart goes out to you and your family in such a strong and indescribable way. I will continue my prayers for you all.