Tuesday, 15 October 2019

I Interviews

Interview: Rebecca H. Cooper

Author of Hey God? Yes Charles


Talk about how the sudden death of your husband impacted you.

There are almost no words to describe how devastating this was – except for shocking, painful, helpless, and, in the beginning, hopeless.

Describe these conversations you overheard between God and Charles. When did you hear the first one and what did you think about it?

The conversations almost always had to do with something I was doing at the time.  They were often sad and serious but not always – sometimes Charles’s humor (or even God’s) burst through.  I don’t have a clear memory of when they started, but they must have been soon after Charles' funeral service because my friend brought me stationary and encouraged me to journal.  And I really don’t think I “thought” about the conversations.  They just seemed like Charles talking to God and I felt this compulsion to write down what I was hearing.

You said in the book that you were through talking to God after Charles died. Talk about how you worked through your anger.

At the time I don’t think I knew I WAS working through my anger.  I don’t even think I realized how the conversations Charles was having with God were reflecting other emotions.  Now, looking back, I see that Charles talking to God kept that door open, kept them both in my life, and even provided me a way to defend God when I felt God was being unjustly charged with Charles’s death. The other thing that is evident in these conversations is that Charles is doing great!

What would you say are some keys to dealing with the death of a loved one?

Everyone grieves differently and I will say, at age 58, I was among the first of my age in my group of family and friends to experience a loss like this.  But in the past 8 years, too many others whom I know have joined this terrible club and if – and only if – asked my advice, there are two things I almost universally share: that you are entitled to feel how you feel for as long as you need to feel it; and that you will eventually learn that, while you cannot change what happened, YOU will change, and in ways that will help you deal with the past and consider the future.

What are some things that people should NOT do when they are grieving?

Short of the obvious things that would be harmful to self or others, there’s not a lot I would tell someone not to do in terms of the grieving process.

As you look back on it now, how do you view these conversations and how do you believe they helped your healing process?

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think hearing these conversations, and writing them down, helped me process so many things to begin the transition from grieving to healing AND to realize that Charles could still make me laugh.  Joy is a whole separate thing from acceptance or even happiness and humor contributed to the rediscovery of joy in my life.

What have you learned about your faith during this process?

I learned that no matter how hard I try I can’t just discard my faith.  There’s a conversation in the book where God tells Charles that God can handle the attitude, so I guess I learned that God won’t discard me either.


About Rebecca H. Cooper

Rebecca Cooper is a Belmont University graduate and former teacher, business owner and career professional.

Her love of writing dates back to elementary school, and she has produced stories, poetry, and various articles over the years.

In her first published work, scribbles on scraps of paper capture conversations she began to overhear after the sudden death of her husband.

While prioritizing her grandchildren and a love for travel and books, she divides the rest of her time among church and other family and friends – all of whom took turns carrying her along a journey of love, loss and recovery.

Becky currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.

Visit www.HeyGodYesCharles.comfor more information.

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