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BIS READS Blog

BIS Reads: Grace Like Scarlett

grace like scarlett review adriel booker

I remember when I felt a miscarriage all the way to my bones. It opened up a world of fear. What if I cannot have children or carry children? Then, I had Miriam, and she was perfect. I thought that was the end of miscarriages for me. When it happened again, I felt a wild grief.

I read Grace Like Scarlett by Adriel Booker as part of her volunteer launch team. I can now say that this a book that needs to find its way onto our shelves and into our hands as we support each other through grief.

While reading, images of women I knew who bled and suffered flashed through my mind. Women who had no more children following a miscarriage. Those who were afraid to name their babies as they ran from their grief. Those who lost their faith when they lost their child. And those who went on to have other children and, surrounded by that blessedness, dwelled little on the little ones they lost.

How many of us are out there! How different we all are!

Have you ever encountered a book on miscarriage? I haven’t. That is why this is a book we need.

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Sharing Our Grief

Like the women of Jerusalem, Adriel comes alongside those of us who suffer in grief and says, “You are not alone. I have suffered too.” She makes her message accessible. We cannot know exactly what someone is experiencing. It is awfully hard to prescribe what the person should do with her grief.

Adriel shares the grief of her three miscarriages. But she takes her message to the next step by emphasizing how important is not to compare our grief to another person’s grief, either in order to pity ourselves more or minimize our suffering. Suffering is suffering, and she gets that.

Even though the grief I feel most is from my stillborn daughter and not from my miscarriages, the book became a healthy window for me to take time and look back. It actually became the avenue by which I am beginning to explore (with some trembling) the divide that exists in my life from before my medically-complex son and stillborn daughter to now.

Safe and Understood

When I opened the book, curious to see how a Protestant woman would write on the topic, Catholic images sustained me in my grief process. Immediately in Chapter 1, Adriel warmed me up by relaying a story of a friend who became a nun. Her love and respect let me know this was an author with whom I am safe. It is a vulnerable topic, so we need to feel safe.

Adriel dives in. Her language begins direct and gritty in those early chapters. I think the particulars of death stain our memories so deeply that, for me, this bluntness helped. It mirrored the way I experience my experiences, but in ways not shared in polite society. Her writing softens after that because it would be far too much intensity for an entire book.

Suffering is normal, Adriel tells us. But that at the Heart of God is love for us and a desire to help us. She identifies that God works with us to help us, the key word being with. It won’t happen magically without us leaning into our grief.

Grace Like Scarlett Gets to the Heart

After reading her story and her advice, in Chapter 6: A Thousand Shades of Grief, she brings in brief testimonies of other women of their feelings and their miscarriages. In this way, she makes it a book in which anyone who has suffered a miscarriage can find herself.

Shame

Chapter 7: The 18-inch Journey focused on shame. This hit home, for me, in a particular way. Relaying other testimonies, she illustrates the wide variety of shame we women feel in pregnancy loss. For me, it once was the question of whether I could carry a child. Subsequent, easy pregnancies answered that question.

A new shame grips me now. Yes, I can carry and deliver babies easily. But I feel I cannot make healthy babies. I have three healthy babies, but the “unhealthy” ones outnumber that, now. It is irrational, but that is how shame works.

Jealousy

To work through our shame, Adriel gives voice to those jealous thoughts we dare not speak. I envied women with sick children because theirs lived for a time and mine did not survive delivery. This jealousy gets us nowhere with regards to the other. Rather, it points us back to ourselves and where our wounds are most.

Space to Breathe

To the reader, Adriel poses a reflection question at the end of each chapter. Ever aware of the uniqueness of each women’s journey, she seeks to give the reader space to sort out her loss, grief, and hope separate from Adriel’s words.

In the end, Adriel writes the path I walked. These times of crisis are opportunities for grace. And God’s grace comes. He comes as surely as we will let him.

Have you ever suffered a miscarriage or infant loss? I am so sorry. Have you read this book? I encourage you to reach out to other women for solidarity, prayer, and support.

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Kathryn Anne Casey is a graduate of Divine Mercy University, freelance writer, housewife, and mother of four children. Her weekly newspaper column “Here’s to the Good Life!” and blog focus on art, psychology, consumerism and the importance of local community. Find out more about her here.

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