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Monday, December 14, 2015

New book chronicles widow's overheard conversations from heaven

“Hey, God?”  “Yes, Charles.”
“Becky is still crying every day…it’s going on three months now.
I think she thought maybe it wouldn’t be every day by now.”
“There’s no timetable, Charles.”


Nashville TN --  When Rebecca Cooper’s husband Charles died suddenly eight years ago, she admittedly stopped praying to God. Two days after his 58th birthday, her husband suffered a thoracic aortic dissection – the same thing that happened to actor John Ritter. Prayers went up on her husband’s behalf for two weeks to no avail. After 39 years of marriage, Cooper was alone, and consumed by grief and despair. Then she heard voices—they were in her head, but very clear. She wondered if she was going crazy, but then she listened… 
 “Hey, God?”  “Yes, Charles.

”I’m worried about Becky. She’s running on adrenaline, not eating, crying. She needs me.” 

She,” God proclaimed, “has Me.”
She grabbed a piece of paper, compelled to write down what she had heard. She continued to overhear conversations, and continued to chronicle them. Over time, there were hundreds of small sheets of paper all around the house. She shared several with others who were grieving. A friend suggested she gather the papers together and put them in a notebook for her children and grandchildren. Cooper’s very personal writings were discovered by a publisher and have now become a book entitled, “Hey, God? Yes, Charles: Conversations on Life, Loss, and Love” (Turner Publishing Co.).
“The conversations almost always had to do with something I was doing at the time,” says Cooper.  “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.  They just seemed like Charles talking to God and I felt this compulsion to write down what I was hearing.”
In “Hey, God? Yes, Charles,” Cooper shares her personal, ongoing experience with grieving. Through the conversations that came to her, she began to find kernels of comfort, to understand the things that triggered the most painful grief, to accept that loss was now a forever part of her, and even to realize she could still laugh.
“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.”
Cooper has already heard stories from people who have read her book and been helped through their own grieving process.
“When people ask my advice about grieving, I tell them they are entitled to feel how they feel for as long as they need to feel it; and that they will eventually learn that, while they cannot change what happened, THEY will change, and in ways that will help them deal with the past and consider the future.”
Cooper admits, though she spent many months angry at God, she has discovered that her faith kept her going. 
“I learned that no matter how hard I try I can’t just discard my faith,” says Cooper. “There’s a conversation in the book where God tells Charles that God can handle my attitude, so I guess I learned that God won’t discard me either.”
Visit www.HeyGodYesCharles.com for more information.
 Buy Amazon

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. 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. 


Sunday, November 11, 2007, Becky Cooper watched her husband Charles drive out of sight, heading from their Nashville condo to his office and apartment in Atlanta. She never saw him conscious again.

Monday, November 12, was his 58th birthday. Since he would be out of town, their granddaughters and Becky had made him a cake and celebrated before he left on that Sunday.

Wednesday, November 14, Charles caught Becky at her desk, calling just to let her know that he’d had some pain radiating down his back. He was sure it was nothing, but the company nurse, who just happened to be in the office that day, heard what happened and insisted on calling 911 as a precaution. They swapped love yous. She didn’t even get out of her chair.
 Sunday, November 11, 2007, Becky Cooper watched her husband Charles drive out of sight, heading from their Nashville condo to his office and apartment in Atlanta. She never saw him conscious again.

Monday, November 12, was his 58th birthday. Since he would be out of town, their granddaughters and Becky had made him a cake and celebrated before he left on that Sunday.

Wednesday, November 14, Charles caught Becky at her desk, calling just to let her know that he’d had some pain radiating down his back. He was sure it was nothing, but the company nurse, who just happened to be in the office that day, heard what happened and insisted on calling 911 as a precaution. They swapped love yous. She didn’t even get out of her chair.

Twelve days later, despite hundreds, maybe thousands, of prayers, Charles died. Emergency open heart surgery was followed by complications, including acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and various lung infections. He and Becky had been married almost 39 years.

In the following year, Becky learned that the connection with someone you love doesn’t cease with death. Charles was always bigger than life, and his presence, his love, his humor, and these conversations were just as real after his death.

For better, for worse, Becky started scribbling down what she was overhearing in heaven.

She was done talking to God. Charles, as it turned out, was not.

"Although I had initial reservations about the premise, I found Hey, God? Yes, Charles to be a delightful book about real life, real grief, real faith, and real hope. I highly recommend it, especially for persons walking through the complicated journey of grief."
―  Dr. Martin Thielen, author of the best-selling books, What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? and The Answer to Bad Religion Is Not No Religion (Westminster John Knox)

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