Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: I Will Carry You

I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy
By Angie Smith
B & H Books May 2010


Angie and Todd Smith were thrilled to discover they were expecting their third daughter. At an eighteen week ultrasound, they were devastated when their doctor told them that their baby was ‘incompatible with life.’ Her kidneys were not functioning, her heart was enlarged, and there was no amniotic fluid present. She did not appear to have a bladder, a stomach, or chambers separating her heart. Angie’s doctor advised that they terminate the pregnancy. If the baby lived to full term, she would likely only survive a few moments outside of her mother’s body.

Angie and Todd decided to give their daughter as much of a chance as she could have. “She was our daughter and we would fight for her.” They named their daughter Audrey. They decided to do everything possible with their third baby – they went to Disneyland, they spent time as a family, and Angie talked to her daughter and let her know that she was loved. This is the story of Audrey’s life, her death, and the journey that family took together.

To read this book, you are going to need tissues – lots and lots of tissues. I first heard Angie speak at the Women of Faith Conference in Philadelphia. I cried then and I cried several times reading this book – not polite tears streaming down my face, but torrents of water accompanied by sniffles.

Angie Smith is a beautiful writer and a brave human being. She returns to the darkest moments of her life so that she can share her grief and insight with her readers. This book is raw and honest. This writer is unafraid to admit that she does not have all of the answers, only trust in the one who does.

“The two of us have covered so much ground in this sacred dance we call pregnancy. I feel bonded to her in a way I never did with my others because I know this is all I have. And yet there is so much I can never give her.
I want her to know that I was funny.
That I would have come at three in the morning if she got scared and needed a ride.
That I would have loved to have heard the sound of her children floating through my house as I got older.
I wanted to try and fit a lifetime of love into a few short months, and as we approach the end of the road, it occurs to me that there isn’t enough time to tell her everything. And so now I have to trust a different side of God the Father. Will you tell her all about me and what I would have been to her? Will you show her glimpses of how we would have lived life together?”

Throughout the book, Angie parallels her journey with the biblical story of Mary and Martha. She begins to truly understand their story when they send for Jesus – “Lord, the one you love is sick.” The sisters knew that Jesus knew their brother, loved him, and could heal him. Likewise, Angie knew that Jesus already knew and loved her baby and she called out for Him to heal her daughter.

This is a beautiful book for someone who has lost a loved one, for parents, for those going through tough times. It’s really a book for everyone because dark days are a reality for us all –each of us have moments of doubt and grief. The story of baby Audrey and the ways in which she touched the hearts of her family and those around them will resonate with readers in a very profound way. 

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