'Absolute faith'

Family shows indomitable spirit in the face of daughter's tragic illness

Have you ever actually seen faith? Smelled courage? Tasted hope? Heard love? Reached out and touched spirit?


These things are normally beyond our five senses. But the Copeland family of Snellville made all of them quite observable in the physical world these past few days.

Even amid a tragedy, it’s a beautiful thing to see.

As their daughter and sister Aimee fought for her life against a flesh-eating bacteria at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Augusta’s Doctors Hospital, the Copelands were the pinnacle of grace, grit and fidelity.

Those soaring qualities always stand out, but never more so than in the absolute depths of adversity and anguish, when others of us might
acquiesce to despair.

Speaking of their strong family bond, father Andy Copeland says, “You don’t know how tight those bonds are until something happens.”

This family’s is a scenario that is eerie and frightening: 24-year-old Aimee Copeland got a nasty gash on her leg in a zip-line accident May 1 near Carrollton. After several trips to the hospital, she was diagnosed with the dangerous bacteria, and brought to the Still center in Augusta.

After initially concluding her chances of survival were “slim and none,” doctors saw Aimee turn a corner and even begin communicating with head nods. Her father was upbeat, while buffeted, even as his daughter faced kidney failure and needed breathing help, and faced further amputations following her leg’s.

“Everything about this is extraordinary,” her father said, noting the response around the world. “I know that Aimee has a great purpose going forward and I know that she is going to make it. She has got my absolute faith in that.”

“Absolute faith” is accurate. Rarely do you see it at work in such an open, overt fashion. Such steadfastness can only come from an abiding belief in God. And it’s difficult to see how even a savage bacteria could stand up to such inspired conviction.

Malicious microbes attack us all indiscriminately, sometimes with a ferocity wholly out of place with a beautiful day – which is one reason Aimee’s story has touched so many around the world. It’s an utterly stunning reminder of how hostile even the most pastoral scene can become.

But how many of us would exhibit the same buoyancy in such a tempest?

God bless this family. You can’t say “Copeland” without “Cope.”